Arverne, Queens resident Charles Williams, 23, was sentenced on Monday, December 5 to four years in prison for possession of two assault weapons. Williams, who was convicted in November, told investigators he purchased the weapons online. Our Queens weapons crimes lawyers examine why Williams was charged and convicted, and explain what types of firearms are considered to be assault weapons under New York’s gun laws.
Queens Resident Sentenced to 4 Years for Firearms Felony
The weapons were first uncovered by NYPD officers during a search of Williams’ apartment in July 2014. The search also turned up unspecified quantities of marijuana and ammunition.
“Let this be a warning. If you are caught with an illegal weapon you will face prison time,” said a statement issued by Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “In this case,” the statement continued, “justice has been served and the defendant is going to prison.”
After a five-day trial in November, Williams was convicted of three offenses:
- Unlawful Possession of Marijuana – This offense is a violation, not a misdemeanor or felony. Though violations are not technically considered crimes in New York City, they can still lead to fines of up to $250, and/or up to 15 days in jail. However, no jail time may be imposed for a first offense of unlawful marijuana possession, and the maximum fine is capped at $100 under NY Penal Law § 221.05, the statute in New York’s criminal code which defines the offense. For a second offense, the maximum fine increases to $200. For a third offense, the maximum fine increases to $250, and/or up to 15 days in jail.
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree – This offense is a Class D violent felony under NY Penal Law § 265.02. Under NY Penal Law § 265.02(7), a person can be charged with this offense for possessing an assault weapon. The sentence for a Class D violent felony ranges from two to seven years in prison.
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree – This offense is a Class C violent felony under NY Penal Law § 265.03. A person can be charged with this offense for possessing a machine gun, a disguised gun, or any loaded firearm with intent to use it against someone. You can also be charged with this offense for possessing five or more guns. The sentence for a Class C violent felony ranges from 3 ½ to 15 years in prison.
What Are Considered Assault Weapons in New York?
“Assault weapons” is a term that gets thrown around so often, many people have developed incorrect ideas about what it actually means. Part of the reason for the confusion is that every state has its own, unique definition of what assault weapons are – and aren’t. As a result, a gun that’s legally defined as an assault weapon in one state may not fit the bill in another. It simply depends on the wording of the relevant statute.
In New York, that statute is NY Penal Law § 265.00, which supplies definitions for important terms that come up in the prosecution of gun crimes. In criminal law, definitions are absolutely crucial, because they can help make or break either side’s case. For example, if you are charged with criminal disposal of a weapon, the prosecutor has to prove that your actions actually fit the legal definition of “disposal.”
In New York, assault weapons are defined under NY Penal Law § 265.00(22). All of the following items are categorized as assault weapons in New York:
- Revolving cylinder shotguns
- Semiautomatic rifles that (1) can accept a detachable magazine and (2) have any of the following features:
- Bayonet mount
- Flash suppressor
- Grenade launcher
- Pistol grip, if it “protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon”
- Protruding grip
- Telescoping or folding stock
- Thumbhole stock
- Semiautomatic shotguns that fit the above description, where applicable, with the additional feature of a fixed magazine capacity exceeding seven rounds
- Semiautomatic pistols that fit the above description, where applicable, with the additional features of:
- A “threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer”
- A “shroud that is attached to, or… encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned”
- A weight that meets or exceeds 50 ounces when the gun is unloaded
This is not an exhaustive list, but provides a few examples of the numerous items that are considered assault weapons under state law.
Queens Gun Possession Lawyers Serving Jamaica, Astoria, Flushing, Bayside, Kew Gardens
New York City is famous for many reasons, one of them being its incredibly strict gun laws. Suspected gun offenders are prosecuted aggressively and, in many cases, sentenced harshly if convicted. Most gun crimes are categorized as felonies or high-level misdemeanors, both of which can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life. If you are found guilty of gun possession at JFK airport, a museum, a park, a school, or any other locations in New York City, you could be sentenced to many years in prison and receive thousands of dollars in fines.
You need a focused, aggressive, and knowledgeable Queens firearms possession attorney on your side if you have been charged with the possession of assault weapons. Even guns that are not considered to be assault weapons can lead to very serious criminal penalties.
The Queens criminal defense lawyers of Sullivan & Galleshaw have over 30 years of combined experience handling gun-related felonies and misdemeanors throughout Queens, including but not limited to Arverne, Astoria, Bayside, Cambria Heights, Elmhurst, Flushing, Howard Beach, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Little Neck, Long Island City, and Ozone Park. To set up a free legal consultation with our Queens concealed weapons lawyers, call our law offices at (800) 730-0135.