A crime that is routinely prosecuted in New York City, and likely elsewhere through the State of New York, is New York Penal Law 265.01(1), Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. More specifically, if you knowingly possess a gravity knife or a switchblade knife you are guilty of a class “A” misdemeanor. Because of the severity of the crime, its creation of a permanent criminal record as a result of a conviction, and the fact that what the State identifies as a gravity knife often results in regular people being charged with crimes they had no idea they violated, there are many offenders who should consider having their old criminal conviction for PL 265.01 sealed in accordance with New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59. For that matter, whether you had metal knuckles, a slingshot, shirken, chucka stick or any other per se weapon, conviction sealing is an option to consider.
One of the problems with PL 265.01, and reason why it is an offense that you should seek to seal from your criminal record, is that on its face a conviction for any weapon offense has the worst possible connotation for and to a prospective employer. While one might argue a switchblade knife is often associated with a dangerous instrument, a gravity knife can be something as simple as a multi-tool purchased at a hardware store. While this blog does not address the merits of the law, the questions posed here are can you apply to have your conviction for NY PL 265.01 sealed with the passage of CPL 160.59 and is Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon an eligible offense?
Because New York CPL 160.59 identifies particular crimes that are ineligible for sealing, the first step is ascertain whether PL 265.01 falls within this category. Fortunately, the answer is no. PL 265.01 is neither a violent crime nor a sex offense. It is important to note, however, that if you were arrested for a more serious crime, such as a violent or sex crime, merely because you were not convicted of one of these offenses does not give you a pass. You would be eligible, but your sentencing judge could and likely would examine your criminal case in its entirety from arrest through your ultimate plea.
The next set of questions are those that apply in any case where sealing is sought pursuant to NY CPL 160.59. For example, do you have an pending criminal cases? Do you have more than two criminal convictions that are not part of the same transaction? Have you been out of jail or free from a criminal conviction for at least ten years? Assuming you are able to answer these questions correctly, your sealing lawyer can likely begin the process of securing the cleansing of your criminal record.
The above are merely some of the issues that a judge will review, but know there are more. In fact, there are statutorily defined requirements that must be satisfied by both you and your criminal case sealing attorney in your application or motion and too much to address in this entry. The important takeaway is to know that nothing on its face when it comes to a conviction for Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon would preclude you and your attorney from filing a motion for CPL 160.59 sealing.
To educate yourself on issues of eligibility, process, procedure and benefits relating to sealing pursuant to CPL 160.59, as well as a easy to navigate and short quiz to ascertain if you are a candidate for sealing, review the links found here or go directly to Saland Law PC’s New York Criminal Conviction Sealing information page where all of these materials are available.
Saland Law PC is a New York “expungement” and sealing law firm representing clients in all New York CPL 160.59 conviction sealing applications and motions throughout the State of New York.