On the heels of a “Not Responsible” finding for a client accused of dating violence at his college in violation of Title IX policies against sexual harassment and domestic violence, New York criminal lawyer Jeremy Saland is once again pleased to share that Saland Law exonerated another client accused of domestic charges and crimes. Arrested for Third Degree Assault, Penal Law 120.00, Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation, Penal Law 121.11, and other crimes after our client’s then-girlfriend alleged he choked her, tore off her necklace, and repeatedly struck her in a hotel room during a holiday visit to Manhattan, prosecutors moved to dismiss the case before picking a jury and commencing a trial in the Jury Court Part. Though it was both deserved and a long time coming, what started off as a frightening night in custody, sending our client’s life spiraling, ended up in a complete and total exoneration.
Over the past year alone, Saland Law, PC, a New York criminal defense firm, has represented well north of two dozen clients arrested, given Desk Appearance Tickets (DATs), or given pink summonses or tickets by police officers with the Port Authority Police Department for a litany of New York weapon crimes at Queens’ LaGuardia and JFK Airports. During that time, we have seen, and continue to see, what appears to be an uptick in law abiding people being charged with violating Penal Law Article 265 or the NYC Administrative Code for not just guns and knives, but “weapons” as innocent as batons.
Whether a client has a loaded or unloaded firearm, baton, switch blade, brass knuckles, or even one single bullet, the common thread across these cases is that either the individual was unaware possessing these items was criminal in New York State when they attempted to check the weapon, even if they legally possessed it elsewhere, or they had no idea the contraband in question was in their bag when they were screened by TSA agents. Regardless of the reason and no matter whether they are taken into custody or given an NYC Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT), these otherwise law-abiding citizens find themselves charged with misdemeanors or felonies.
Sometimes good people do terribly bad things, regular people make incredibly poor choices, and bad situations find everyday people who did nothing much at all. No matter how they got there, when the handcuffs are locked around their wrists and a Grand Jury hands down an indictment, they face the same dire consequences within the confines of New York’s criminal justice system.
Regardless of the bucket a recent Saland Law client could point to, he found himself in desperate need of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Facing the Class “D” violent felonies of Second Degree Assault, Penal Law 120.04, and Second Degree Strangulation, Penal Law 121.12, and a presumptive mandatory two to seven years in prison, our client, a professional working for a large organization, knew his life, liberty, and career were all in jeopardy.
Usually, one of the first questions clients ask me in my capacity as a criminal defense lawyer after they have been arrested by the NYPD or Port Authority Police for possessing a loaded firearm is, “What is the penalty is for carrying a gun in New York City?” and “How long do you go to jail for having a gun in New York even if you have a conceal carry permit in [Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, Virginia…]?”. While a conviction for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, Penal Law 265.03, can saddle you with a sentence for as long as 15 years in prison, with a compulsory minimum of three and a half years if the firearm is “loaded” (bullets needn’t be in the weapon for it to be “loaded” as a matter of law”), a judge can hand down punishment of up to four years behind bars for Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Penal Law 265.01-b(1), even when there is no ammunition at all.
With this type of exposure in mind, Saland Law is incredibly grateful, though not as much as our client after her arrest for Penal Law 265.03, prosecutors took the time to truly review what I presented, examine our client’s case, and advance the matter for dismissal in the interest of justice. While a non-criminal Disorderly Conduct violation or Adjournment in Contemplation (ACD) of dismissal after six months would have been considered a “win” assuming there was no legal impediment to the case, such as in cases I have handled in Queens County where unknowing travelers checked their firearms with the TSA at either JFK or LaGuardia Airport, and downward departures and re-pleaders to non-criminal pleas in other counties such as Manhattan and elsewhere, Brooklyn prosecutors went the extra mile to make an objectively just decision on a case that appeared ugly if one did not do one’s “homework”.
No matter what side you find yourself in terms of whether Jordan Neely’s homicide at the hands of Daniel Penny on a Manhattan subway was the result of a lawful response to an imminent threat, a violent overreaction by a fellow straphanger, or something in between, there is one undeniable fact – Neely’s passing was as unnecessary as it was tragic. Period. There is no other reasonable interpretation nor view. Setting aside this truth, along with the raw emotions of the incident and questions about race which permeate it, however, leaves us with an important question that needs answering: what crime(s), if any, did Penny commit.
In one of the most rewarding cases I have handled as either a prosecutor or a criminal defense lawyer, I am beyond proud and pleased to share that my client, arrested for three counts of Second Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 120.05, and one count of Third Degree Grand Larceny, New York Penal Law 155.35, not only avoided imprisonment, but with great effort on his part, along with compassion and consideration by prosecutors and the presiding judge, walked out of the courtroom without any criminal record at all. Though the People moved to dismiss his case in the interest of justice, when our client, a young professional, first came to Saland Law, he faced a presumptive two years and as much as seven years in prison for each count of Second Degree Assault. Compounding matters, not only would he lose his liberty upon conviction, but he would likely lose his license and ability to practice in his chosen profession after he served his sentence.
Even before New York codified its “ghost gun” specific crime through Penal Law 265.01(9), any criminal lawyer, prosecutor, or judge would likely tell you that New York State had, and has, some of the strictest firearm laws on the books. In fact, possessing an unlicensed and loaded firearm outside your home or place of business, whether on your person, in your car, or even carried in the hard sided case you are checking your out-of-state licensed pistol at JFK or LaGuardia Airport in Queens, is a class “C” violent felony pursuant to Penal Law 265.03. Punishable by a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years in prison no matter if you have a conceal carry permit elsewhere and no intent to use it a criminally, Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon is one of the most serious illegal gun offenses in the state but by no means the only one. With the proliferation of homemade guns, rifles, and shotguns, aka, “ghost guns”, constructed with frames purchased online or crafted from 3D printers, New York District Attorneys and police departments, including the NYPD, now have multiple weapons in their arsenal to enforce the law and ensure compliance with the criminal code.
“Jeremy wasn’t just ‘there’ for us 24/7, his experience and character shined when we needed it most.” – Father of client accused of Sex Abuse and Forcible Touching.
When people learn that as a criminal defense attorney I represent clients accused of sexual offenses including Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Misconduct, and Forcible Touching, the response is often some form of questioning of how I can represent such people along with an assumption of my client’s guilt. While there are times when the evidence of wrongdoing is strong, there are other times when claims are false in part or in whole. Accept it or not, the fact is that false claims of Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Misconduct, and Forcible Touching do happen. Whether it is .005% or far greater or much less, when you are the accused, it is of no consequence. It matters not what the percentages are or what has happened to somebody else. What matters is if the allegation made against you was weaponized to punish you out of anger or jealousy, used to facilitate a favorable outcome in a separate legal proceeding or other dispute, is born from regret, or is intentionally or accidentally false for any number of reasons.
New York, like other states, has its own criminal statutes that regulate the possession of guns. These offenses are generally found in Penal Law Article 265. While some have been on the books for decades, others are more recent additions. Two of these crimes, Penal Law 265.01-e, Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun in a Sensitive Location, and 265.01-d, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in a Restricted Location, went into effect on September 1, 2022. Whether these class “E” felonies stand the test of time and legal challenges, criminal defense attorneys and everyday people residing in or visiting New York City, the Hudson Valley, or elsewhere in the state should have a basic understanding of these laws to best ensure they avoid arrest, prosecution, and as long as four years in prison.
Having both prosecuted individuals as a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney and defended clients arrested and charged with Penal Law 265.03, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, as a New York gun possession lawyer, I have learned over the past 22 years that New York’s firearm laws can be unforgiving. For the uninformed, which there are many, the New York Penal Law does not differentiate between unlawfully possessing a loaded firearm – pistols, glocks, revolvers – outside your home or place of business that you illegally bought on the street or stole, from one otherwise lawfully possessed out of state but carried on your person in New York without the requisite license or permit here. Simply, even if there are other potential charges, in the eyes of New York law, there is no difference between holstering that back alley loaded gun in your waistband and walking around Brooklyn and declaring that same .9 mm to an airline representative or TSA agent, along with your out-of-state permit, before flying out of Queens’ JFK or LaGuardia Airport believing you are following proper protocols. Taken a step further, whether there is a bullet chambered in either scenario or the ammunition is in a case but not in the actual gun, the weapon may nonetheless be considered loaded.
With the above background in mind, Saland Law is pleased to share two separate results for clients arrested for Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, aka, CPW 4, in Manhattan.