Whether you are charged in NY with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.01, for possessing a revolver, firearm, pistol, switchblade, gravity knife or even metal knuckles, under certain circumstance prosecutors can “bump up” or raise the level of your crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. The basis of this “bump up” to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.02(1), is whether you have any prior criminal convictions.
Pursuant to Penal Law section 265.02(1), a person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree if such person commits the crime of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree as defined in subdivision one, two, three or five of section 265.01, and has been previously convicted of any crime. That is right…if you were ever convicted of a misdemeanor Trespass, Petit Larceny for shoplifting, or even Theft of Services for jumping a turnstile and you are now arrested for having a switchblade in your pocket, prosecutors can charge you with a felony. The ramifications are enormous as the misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and the felony by up to seven years in state prison.
If you have a prior criminal record and you have been arrested for the misdemeanor offense of Criminal Possession of a Weapon the Fourth Degree do not compound a bad situation. Not only may you be charged with a misdemeanor for possessing the alleged weapon even without the intent to use it unlawfully (weapons such as metal knuckles, gravity knives and switchblades are “per se” weapons or automatically considered weapons under NY law regardless of how they are being used), but you may find yourself charged with a felony as well.
Saland Law PC is a New York City criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. Saland Law PC represents clients in all criminal matters from weapon crimes to white collar offenses.