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How possession of a firearm can make your criminal charges worse

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2021 | Criminal Defense, Gun Crimes

It’s not easy facing the prospect of jail time for accusations that the police have against you. What can make your situation even more stressful is that certain elements can increase the total penalty you face if the court convicts you. One of these elements is the possession of a firearm (or something that is meant to resemble a firearm), even if you did not fire it during the alleged offense.

A separate offense added to your charges

Having a firearm on your person when you allegedly commit a crime, even if you don’t use it, can mean a longer jail sentence, increased fines and a decreased probability of release on parole. Possessing the firearm does not modify the underlying charges against you. Rather, the possession of the firearm is an additional charge that the prosecution adds to the existing charges.

For example, New York law specifies that, if you commit a class B violent felony offense, and you had a gun – or something that appears to be a gun – then you can be charged with criminal use of a firearm in the first degree. A conviction on this charge could add an additional five consecutive years to the end of your sentence for the felony, and you would not be eligible for parole during that period.

It’s also important to note that these extra charges do not include any harm that results from the use of the firearm. For example, if you discharge the firearm and someone is killed as a result, you could potentially face manslaughter charges in addition to the charges added by the firearm possession.

New York’s criminal justice system is very tough on firearm possession. It’s a good idea to keep up to date on the state’s laws, so that you do not have to face the prospect of criminal charges relating to firearm possession.