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What Does it Mean to Have Transitory Possession of a Weapon?

 Posted on December 10, 2020 in Criminal Defense

NYC weapons possession defense attorneyIn the State of New York, the illegal possession of firearms and many other types of weapons can result in serious criminal charges. If a law enforcement officer finds an illegal weapon on your person or your property, you could face fines, imprisonment, and other consequences that could affect you for the rest of your life, especially if you have a prior criminal record. A criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges you are facing, and one possible defense depending on the circumstances is a demonstration of transitory possession of the weapon.

Criminal Weapons Offenses in New York

Some of the types of weapons that can result in criminal charges in New York if possessed illegally include:

  • Handguns: The possession of pistols and other types of handguns is illegal throughout the state without the required permit, license, and registration.

  • Long guns: Though most of the state of New York allows the possession of some types of rifles and long guns without a permit, New York City requires a permit, license, and registration for these weapons.

  • Assault weapons: Semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns that meet certain criteria are considered assault weapons and are prohibited throughout the state.

  • Some types of knives, bludgeoning weapons, and other dangerous weapons: New York state law specifies a list of several dangerous weapons that are illegal to possess, including but not limited to switchblades, metal knuckles, billy clubs, blackjacks, and stun guns.

The minimum charge for criminal possession of a weapon in New York is a class A misdemeanor. However, aggravating factors like possession on school grounds, an existing criminal record, and possession of more dangerous classes of weapons can result in felony charges.

The Transitory Possession Defense

That said, there are some circumstances under which what would normally be considered illegal possession may not be charged as a crime. One example is when a person has transitory, or temporary and lawful, possession of a weapon. This means that the person takes possession of the weapon with the sole intent to safely dispose of it, usually by turning it in to the appropriate authorities. The transitory possession defense has been affirmed by multiple New York Appellate Court decisions and continues to apply in many contemporary cases. For example, if you find a dangerous weapon in public and pick it up with the intent to take it to the local police station for disposal, you have a valid defense if you are apprehended by a law enforcement officer before you have the chance to do so.

Contact a New York City Weapons Charges Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges for criminal possession of a weapon, The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC, will help you pursue all possible strategies in building a strong defense, including the transitory possession defense and other extenuating circumstances involved in your case. Contact a New York criminal defense lawyer today at 646-580-6675.



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