Under the laws of New York, a person is in possession of a weapon if it is deemed to be in his or her dominion or control. This does not mean you must have the weapon physically on your person – you may be found to possess a weapon even if it is only in your home or your car. Additionally, New York law subscribes to the theory of presumptive possession, which means that multiple people can be found guilty of possessing a single weapon.

Because the laws that govern weapons possession cases are complex and the associated penalties are so dire, the services of a trained weapons possession defense attorney, like Joel R. Salinger, can make all the difference. He can evaluate the circumstances of your case and recite the facts in an advantageous way. Prosecutors and police are experienced in putting people away for weapons possession, and the advice and advocacy of an attorney can help you mount the most effective legal defense possible.

Another type of possession is called presumptive possession. The concept of presumptive possession allows the District Attorney to charge more than one person with possession of the same weapon. For instance, if there are four people in a vehicle, and a gun is found under the seat, all four people can be charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon. The presumption here is that all four people possessed the weapon. The standard of proof in these types of cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This equates to a 96% certainty that the accused is guilty in order to sustain a conviction. With four people in the vehicle, it would be virtually impossible to meet this burden of proof. So law makers wanted to make it easier for the DA to prove his case. This presumption allows all four people to be charged.

Weapons Considered Illegal to Possess in New York

Guns are not the only weapons considered illegal to possess in New York. Below is a list of weapons that are illegal to possess, regardless whether you intend to use them unlawfully:

If you get caught carrying one of these "per se weapons," you will need an experienced weapon defense lawyer. The following weapons are outlawed if possessed with the intent to use them unlawfully against another person:

Stakes Increase if You Have a Prior Criminal Record

Possession of a weapon that would otherwise be classified as a misdemeanor is elevated to a class D felony if the person possessing the weapon has previously been convicted of a crime. If you're accused of possessing an illegal weapon, and you've previously been convicted of a misdemeanor, such as DWI or shoplifting, you can be charged with a felony.

If you've previously been convicted of a crime, the partial defense of "possession in your home or place of business" does not apply to you.