Articles Posted in WEAPONS OFFENSES

In a recent case before a New York appellate court, the defendant successfully appealed his conviction of criminal possession of a weapon. The defendant originally faced charges after an officer found a .45 caliber gun in his vehicle’s center console. His case went to trial, and a jury found him guilty. On appeal, however, the defendant successfully argued that the trial court unreasonably allowed the prosecution to introduce evidence of his past crimes during the proceedings. The higher court, agreeing with the defendant, vacated the trial court’s order.  Generally, evidence of prior bad acts may not be used against a defendant with very limited exceptions.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an officer pulled the defendant over one morning because of an illegal U-turn. The officer approached the defendant’s car and immediately smelled marijuana. He took the defendant and his passenger to the station, later finding a .45 caliber gun in the defendant’s console along with three handguns in the back.

The defendant’s case went to trial, and during the trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of two prior incidents on the defendant’s record – a 2006 uncharged crime and a 2007 misdemeanor for weapon possession. The jury ultimately returned a guilty verdict.

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In a recent case between the State of New York and a defendant convicted of criminal possession of a weapon, an appellate court ruled that the defendant did not have grounds to appeal his guilty verdict. Originally, the defendant was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. His case went to trial, a jury found him guilty, and the defendant promptly appealed. After considering the defendant’s argument that the State unfairly struck a Black individual and a Hispanic individual from the jury, the court denied the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, officers were on patrol one evening when they received word that they should be on the lookout for the defendant in this case, given that there was an active warrant for his arrest and he had possibly been involved in a recent homicide in the city. The officers eventually spotted the defendant and began following him in his car. They radioed to other troopers in the area that the defendant was on the loose in his silver Ford Taurus.

Another officer on patrol spotted the car. He turned on his emergency lights to stop the defendant, at which point he saw the defendant stop the car, get out of the car, pull out a pistol from his pockets, and drop the pistol on the ground. The defendant then began running on foot.

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In a recent case before a New York court of appeals, the defendant appealed his conviction of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. On appeal, the defendant argued that the officers’ search warrants were invalid and did not meet the correct legal standard that would have allowed the officers to reasonably search the defendant’s apartment. Looking at the warrants, the court of appeals ultimately disagreed, sustaining the defendant’s guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a confidential informant told undercover police officers that the defendant had illegal substances and weapons in his apartment. The defendant had no idea the police were suspicious of him, and he thus was unaware they had secured warrants from a judge to search his two apartments.

Soon, however, the officers executed their search warrants and came into the defendant’s apartment unannounced. They recovered various items, including one loaded pistol, heroin, fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia, immediately charging the defendant after having found these items.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in New York ruled in favor of a defendant after he was found guilty of both criminal possession of a weapon and  possession of controlled substances. On appeal, the defendant argued that the lower court was incorrect when it decided to admit incriminating statements he had made to a police officer before being given any Miranda warnings. Considering the context of the defendant’s statement, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with several crimes in June 2021: criminal possession of a weapon, unlawful sale of dangerous substances, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Because the defendant had to receive medical treatment immediately following an incident with the weapon, he was taken to the hospital and put under emergency care.

A police officer was stationed outside the defendant’s hospital room, and the defendant proceeded to call the officer to his bed and say to him, “I’m beat up.” The officer asked the defendant exactly what happened, and the defendant explained the circumstances around how he illegally came into possession of a weapon. The officer then testified as to these statements before the court, using them as part of the State’s case against the defendant.

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In a recent case decided in a New York appellate court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his conviction for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. On appeal, one of the defendant’s main arguments was that the trial court had improperly denied his motion to suppress; according to him, evidence of the gun he possessed was unfairly used against him during trial and that under the exclusionary rule the fruit of an unlawful search should not be used as evidence. Disagreeing with the defendant, the court denied the appeal.

Facts of the Case

The opinion included a retelling of the following facts: the defendant in this case was in his car one day in 2017 when the police pulled him over. According to the opinion, the police had received a 911 call that the defendant, who was a parolee wanted on an outstanding warrant, had been spotted as a passenger in a certain vehicle. The officers tracked down the car and followed it, eventually pulling the defendant over to investigate.

In a recent decision coming out of a New York court, the defendant’s appeal of his New York firearm conviction was denied. Originally, the defendant was charged after police officers found a firearm inside of his backpack while the defendant and some of his acquaintances were gathered in another person’s yard. On appeal, the defendant argued that the officers invaded his right to privacy. Disagreeing with the defendant, the court denied the appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, two officers were on patrol one day when they drove past an empty house that they had seen many times while driving on the same street. They noticed that the house was boarded up with a padlock, a chain, and a “No Trespassing” sign in the front. Officers saw that a group of men had gathered in the backyard, and they exited their vehicle to go speak with the men.

Officers noticed that the men were passing a cigarette back and forth, as well as that the area smelled of marijuana. They also observed the defendant walk towards the back of the house with an object in his hand. The officers watched him then return to the group empty-handed.

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We wrote a very popular blog about whether you can take your lawfully possessed pistol on vacation with you in Puerto Rico, subsequent to the easing of gun laws in Puerto Rico.  Now we explore the gun laws in the US Virgin Islands and in particular whether you can take your pistol to St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.

At first glance, the US Virgin Islands appears to have extremely liberal reciprocity laws however that appears to be far from reality.  A review of the USVI Police website clearly indicates that visitors are required to declare their firearms before arrival in the US Virgin Islands and to immediately report to the US Virgin Island Police Substation upon


USVI Police Airport Substation

As New York gun rights attorneys we are carefully monitoring an increasing regulatory environment of everything related to firearms and an increasing number of gun owners who are receiving letters from law enforcement.    Recently we were consulted by a person who received a letter from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concerning a solvent catcher that he had purchased years ago.

The problem arises due to the National Firearms Act (NFA) which put suppressors or silencers as they are commonly known in the same category of fully automatic machine guns and sawed off shotguns, making them highly regulated and requiring a background check, tax stamp, and long wait to legally own.  The do-it-yourself market which has become a lucrative market in general has also become popular among firearms enthusiasts many of whom enjoy building, modifying and customizing firearms and gun parts.  The same is true for the suppressor industry.

In an August 2019 article in the Verge, an article in which I was quoted, the writer details the wide availability of items such as “solvent traps”, “flashlight tubes”, barrel shrouds, fuel filters and solvent filters that can be used to make suppressors or silencers.  In addition, a search on Amazon for solvent trap at the time of writing this article produced a variety of items including a 1/2X28 tap and die set ideal for threading a 9mm barrel and a device for attaching to a 9mm barrel.

In a recent opinion from a New York court involving a New York gun case, the defendant’s motion to suppress was denied. The defendant was convicted of gun possession in the third degree and filed a motion to suppress the gun found in his coat pocket during the initial 40 seconds of a traffic stop. The state appellate court denied the motion because they found that the search was not a “level three” detention and that there was reasonable suspicion of criminality.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a parole officer tipped the police officers of the defendant possibly owning a gun. Police officers conducted a traffic stop, stopping the defendant due to the defendant violating traffic laws and having a suspended license. The officers directed the defendant to exit the vehicle and an officer grabbed the defendant’s arm as he exited the vehicle.

In many New York criminal cases, law enforcement officers need to search for evidence. The United States Constitution protects individuals from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” As such, in most cases, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant based on probable cause before beginning their search. Despite these protections, the law provides police with significant discretionary power when investigating a criminal incident. Criminal defendants may successfully challenge a search if they can establish that police engaged in the search without a valid warrant or probable cause. However, exceptions to the search warrant rule apply in various situations, such as when the search or seizure is incident to a valid arrest.

For example, recently, the Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling denying a New York defendant’s motion to suppress. The case arose when law enforcement obtained a search warrant to search the defendant’s home. During the search, police recovered several items, including a handgun and ammunition. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence, claiming that the warrant was invalid.

In New York, if an officer wants to obtain a search warrant, they must present the basis for the probable cause of their search to a judge. In most cases, a judge will issue a warrant if the probable cause exhibits a reasonable basis for believing that evidence from a crime is in the location they want to search. Officers must submit a sworn statement and describe the location with particularity. Judges typically consider the totality of the circumstances before issuing a search warrant.

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