Queens Airport Arrest: Possession of a Weapon (Firearms, Ammunition, and More) at Laguardia and JFK

Jason Goldman
February 23, 2024
Possession Of A Weapon

Table of Contents

Experienced Queens criminal defense lawyers possess in-depth knowledge of the government and law enforcement's heightened concerns surrounding weapons possession at airports.

In such cases, various critical factors come into play, significantly impacting the severity of your situation and potential criminal exposure if arrested. Understanding the intricacies of these factors is essential for crafting an effective defense strategy. Entrust your case to skilled legal professionals who can navigate the complexities of airport weapons possession charges, ensuring your rights are protected and providing you with the best possible outcome. Here are some factors which can dictate the severity of your case and the potential criminal exposure you could face if arrested.

The nature of the weapon

Queens criminal defense law takes into account the type of weapon involved in your arrest. The possession of certain weapons, such as firearms, gravity knives, or switchblades, may be subject to more severe penalties than other weapons. It is essential to understand the specific categorization and legal requirements surrounding the weapon in question.

Laws governing airport security

Airports are considered high-security zones, and possession of weapons within airport premises can lead to immediate arrest. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, responsible for overseeing airport operations, has stringent regulations regarding weapons. It is crucial to be aware of these regulations, as violation of airport security measures can result in criminal charges.

Criminal charges and potential penalties

If you are arrested at a Queens airport for possession of a weapon, you may face various criminal charges, such as criminal possession of a weapon, possession of a firearm, or possession of a dangerous instrument. The severity of the charges depends on factors like the type of weapon, its intended use, and your criminal history. Convictions can lead to significant fines, probation, or even imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

Possible defenses

If you find yourself facing charges related to possession of a weapon at a Queens airport, it is crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can explore various defense strategies tailored to your specific case, such as:

Challenging the legality of the search and seizure

Your attorney may evaluate whether law enforcement conducted the search and seizure within the bounds of the Fourth Amendment. If any constitutional rights were violated during the process, evidence obtained as a result may be suppressed.

Questioning ownership or knowledge

Your defense lawyer may seek to establish that you were unaware of the presence of the weapon or that it belonged to someone else. This defense can be effective if you can demonstrate a lack of control or knowledge over the weapon.

Exploring potential procedural errors

Your attorney will meticulously review the handling of your case, looking for any procedural errors, such as mistakes in the arrest process or chain of custody of evidence. Such errors can weaken the prosecution's case and may be used in your defense.

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree: Penal Law 265.01(1)

Simply stated, if you knowingly possess an electronic stun gun, a pilum ballistic or metal knuckle knife, billy, bludgeon, plastic or metal knuckles, or some specified weapons such as a wrist-brace style slingshot, you are guilty of this class "A" misdemeanor of Penal law 265.01. If convicted, you would face as much as one year in jail. Even worse, if you have a prior criminal record, prosecutors can elevate your crime to the class "D" felony of Penal Law 265.02(1). This latter offense will expose you to as long as seven years incarceration.

Criminal Possession of a Firearm: Penal Law 265.01-b(1)

Penal Law 265.01-b(1) is a class "E" felony that carries with it the potential of one to four years in prison. Whether or not you are licensed out of state or have the proper permits where you reside, if you checked your unloaded firearm with your airline, and you are reading this after the fact, you have likely already been charged with this offense. Keep in mind that merely because your pistol, revolver, or other gun does not have ammunition in the chamber or in a clip, for example, if you also have bullets in the case when you check your gun, your firearm is considered loaded as a matter of law. In such a situation, the class "E" felony may increase to a far more serious class "C" felony.

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree: Penal Law 265.03

Often the worst-case scenario, when the firearm you possess is loaded physically or as a matter of law, and your possession of the same is unlawful because you do not have the appropriate permit in New York, the Port Authority Police will likely arrest you for Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Penal Law 265.03. It matters not whether you thought you were adhering to both the TSA and airline guidelines, that you encountered no issues when you flew from your home airport, or you never took it out of the case. The law is the law. That is, if convicted you face a mandatory minimum of in excess of three years in prison to as long as fifteen years behind bars. Despite your exposure, however, Queens prosecutors are routinely open to conversations and downward departures for charges in circumstances where you made an honest mistake and were otherwise compliant with the law. Not the only factors, how far the District Attorney’s Office is willing to go, if at all, is highly dependent on the mitigating elements you and your counsel present.

Former Prosecutor to Defend You During High-Stakes Matters

If you are arrested or are given a desk-appearance ticket (DAT) for possessing a weapon or ammunition at an airport, do not hesitate in hiring a skilled defense attorney to fight on your behalf. Many times, proof of a permit or license may be beneficial in keeping your record clean, but sophisticated legal advocacy will still be required to convince prosecutors to offer a violation or even an adjournment in contemplation of a dismissal (ACD). The sooner you put the case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more opportunity you will have to work toward a favorable outcome.