New York weapon possession lawyers and New York City criminal defense attorneys often have to contend with a penal code that can be voluminous and complicated. In the realm of weapon crimes, one statute may contain five, six or many more subdivisions with specifically defined words that are directly relevant as to whether or not a crime has been committed. Specifically, New York Penal Law section 265.01(1) or CPW 4, is littered with these subdivisions and defined terms. The following blog entry will deal directly with what types of objects constitute a weapon and ultimately a crime in New York regardless of the manner in which that weapon or object was used (if at all). These laws apply to weapon crimes and charges regardless of whether you were arrested and processed or issued a Desk Appearance Ticket.
New York Penal Law 265.01(1) makes it a misdemeanor crime anywhere in New York to possess certain “automatic weapons.” That is, if you merely possess any of the following items (its is not an exclusive list) you are guilty of an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Obviously, there may be a defense that you have – was the recovery of the gravity knife or switchblade knife the result of an illegal search or is the alleged weapon not in fact what the police claim? But barring a defense and other means of mitigation, there are serious ramifications for your possession in terms of both your criminal record and your career.
New York Firearm Possession Generally, a “firearm” is defined as any revolver or pistol. However, the definition includes other types of guns with certain lengths or modifications. A “firearm” does not include legally defined antique firearms.
New York Gravity Knife Possession A “gravity knife” has a blade that is released as a result of the user manipulating gravity (flinging it open) or with centrifugal force. Once open, the blade must also lock into place. This type of knife should not be confused with a “butterfly knife.”
New York Switchblade Knife Possession A “switchblade knife” is any knife where in the handle a button is pressed causing the blade to release by a spring or similar device.
New York Electronic Stun Gun Possession A “stun gun” is defined as a device whose primary design is for use as a weapon. The purpose of this weapon is to stun another person or even knock out that other person through the use of a an electric shock.
New York Pilum Ballistic Knife Possession Similar to a “switchblade knife,” a “plum ballistic knife” is any knife that contains a blade that can be projected from the handle when a button, spring, lever or similar release device is pressed.
New York Metal Knuckle Knife Possession A “metal knuckle knife” is a weapon that has a blade that may be open or closed. When closed, the blade as well as the knuckles cannot function, but when opened, but the blade and the knuckles can function. It is important to note that although a specifically articulated weapon in this statute, “metal knuckles” are not defined in the New York Penal Law, but through legal decisions and case law.
New York Chucka Stick Possession A “chucka stick” is a weapon that is often referred to as “nunhchakus.” “Chucka sticks” are objects designed for the primary purpose to be used as weapons and contain two or more lengths of rigid material (often wood or metal) that are connected by a rope or chain. This design allows the free movement of one end while the other is being held.
Despite the fact that the New York Penal Law under Article 265 identifies specific weapons which are criminal to possess, the statutes do not actually define each term. Compounding matters, even these terms have been reviewed and analyzed by the courts. The following are some examples as they relate to and define “gravity knives,” “butterfly knives” and “metal knuckles.”
• Is a “Butterfly Knife” a “Gravity Knife” Pursuant to New York Law
• What Defines a “Metal Knuckle” in the New York Criminal Justice System
• Is it Enough for the Police to Merely Conclude You have a Weapon
Unfortunately for many people, the first time they read or research what constitutes weapon possession in New York State and New York City or the first time they educate themselves on the criminal law, is after they have been arrested or issued a Desk Appearance Ticket. Equally unfortunate, ignorance of the law is no defense to your possession of a switchblade knife or gravity knife. Beyond the criminal reality that most District Attorney’s Offices in New York City and the region do NOT make an initial offer to weapon crimes at arraignment and potentially beyond, the collateral consequences to a teacher, lawyer, physician, financial services employee or any other professional is tremendous. As a result, it is imperative to sit down with the counsel of your choice, ascertain or develop a potential defense – whether legal, factual or mitigation – and put that defense into motion.
For a wealth of information and other related articles regarding New York weapon crimes, statutes and legal analysis as well as information on Desk Appearance Tickets in New York City, click through the hyperlinks to content of our New York Criminal Lawyer Blog or Saland Law PC website. Although nothing contained on this or other Saland Law PC websites is advice in your particular case, the entries will give you the basic knowledge and education to better understand the charges you face so you can have a more informed consultation with your legal counsel.
Saland Law PC is a New York City based criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys. The New York criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC represent the accused in felony and misdemeanor weapon crimes, arrests and investigations throughout the New York City region.