Charged with Possession of Firearms by Juveniles?

We can help you get your charges on possession of firearm by juveniles reduced or dismissed.

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Possession of Firearms by Juveniles in New York


Juveniles under the age of 16 are not allowed to possess firearms in New York except in certain circumstances. Juveniles who are found guilty of illegal firearms possession are considered juvenile delinquents, which means they will not be sent to jail. Rather, a New Jersey family court will decide their punishment, which can include house arrest, probation, or being sent to a facility away from home. Also, the juvenile may end up with a criminal record.

Our criminal defense attorneys at Rosenblum Law have lots of experience representing juveniles, including those who have been accused of illegally possessing a weapon. If your child is facing this charge, call us for a free consultation. In this article, we explain more about what the charge entails and how a lawyer can help.

Understanding Possession of Firearms by Juveniles Laws in New York

A juvenile illegally possesses a firearm if the weapon in their possession is:

  • A pistol, revolver, or shotgun with one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length
  • A rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches in length
  • A weapon constructed from a rifle or shotgun with an overall length of 26 inches or less is legally a firearm
  • An assault weapon 

In New York, there are only two exceptions allowing someone under the age of 16 to possess a firearm: for hunting with a valid hunting license, or for educational purposes on school grounds with the written consent of the educational institution. 

Consequences of Possession of Firearms by Juveniles

If a juvenile is found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm, the Family Court can be lenient and allow them to return to live at his or her home with their parents or guardians under specified conditions set by the court. This is known as a conditional discharge.

The court can also order probation. This means the juvenile will be supervised by the New York Probation Department while living at home. A more serious penalty would be for the court to place the juvenile in a facility away from home, such as a secure facility or a group home. 

Another major concern is the possibility that the juvenile will end up with a criminal record. This can impact their future in various ways, including limiting employment opportunities and the ability to obtain housing.

Whether or not the juvenile ends up with a criminal record will depend on the age of the juvenile and the discretion of the judge. If the juvenile is under the age of 14, they will not have a criminal record for mere possession of a firearm. However, this may not be the case if the juvenile is also guilty of a serious felony such as robbing or killing someone with the firearm. 

A juvenile who is 14 years old or older may end up with a criminal record. However, the judge may instead grant the juvenile “youthful offender” status if they meet certain criteria, in which case they would not have a criminal record. 

Factors Considered in Prosecuting Possession of Firearms by Juveniles

To obtain a conviction of a juvenile charged with illegal possession of a firearm, the prosecution must prove that the juvenile knowingly physically possessed the firearm. 

Legal defenses against a firearms possession charge will need to challenge the required legal elements of the charge. This means potentially arguing that the juvenile actually did not physically possess the weapon. One could also claim that they were unaware that the firearm was in their possession. 

How Attorneys Can Assist Someone Accused of Possessing Firearms by a Juvenile in New York

Given the potential consequences of a conviction for possession of a firearm, it is advisable to try to have the charges dismissed or at least minimize the penalties. However, it can be intimidating for those without legal knowledge or training to go head-to-head with prosecutors. This is where a competent criminal defense attorney can be of great help.

An attorney will be able to evaluate the facts of the case during the initial consultation. During this first meeting, the lawyer will explain the nature of the charge, as well as the potential consequences and penalties the juvenile may face. 

The attorney will then discuss the best possible legal defense strategy, which will be customized to fit the particular circumstances. As part of that strategy, the attorney will gather evidence and obtain witness testimony. This will allow them to effectively advocate on behalf of the juvenile during court proceedings. The attorney can also negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or penalties.

FAQs

Can a juvenile face adult charges for possession of firearms?

No. A minor cannot be charged as an adult for mere possession of a firearm. 

Can a juvenile be charged with possession of a firearm if it is not theirs?

Yes. The juvenile does not have to own the firearm in order to be charged with possession. As long as the juvenile physically had the firearm in their possession and was aware of it, they could be charged.

Can the charge be expunged from the juvenile’s record?

No. The state of New York does not allow for expungement, meaning the removal or erasing of a charge from a juvenile record. However, the state does allow for a record to be sealed; the record will still exist, but it will be hidden from the public. In addition, all fingerprint or palmprint records, DNA samples, and booking photos will be returned to the juvenile or will be destroyed.
If the juvenile has fingerprints on file from another unsealed case, those fingerprint files will not be destroyed. Also, if the juvenile was granted youthful offender status, the records will automatically be sealed without having to file a motion to seal.

Should a juvenile plead guilty or fight the charge?

If the prosecution’s case is weak, it may be worth challenging the charge, because obtaining a dismissal or acquittal would avoid the long-term negative consequences of having a juvenile criminal record. If the prosecution has a good case, it may be better to plead guilty and try to negotiate for less severe penalties.

Call a Rosenblum Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If your child is facing a possession of a firearm charge, they could be sent away to a secure facility and end up with a criminal record. This can be detrimental to their future employment prospects, ability to find housing, and more. 

This is why you should contact Rosenblum Law immediately and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. Our lawyers have a proven track record of effectively defending against juvenile criminal charges. We will explain possible legal defenses during the initial consultation. Contact us today so we can customize a defense strategy to fit your specific circumstances in order to achieve the best outcome possible, including negotiating to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

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