Penalty Enhancements Involving Firearms in New York City
The prosecutor or judge will consider aggravating factors when deciding on a sentence for a firearm offense. Felonies in New York can range from E to A, with a Class A felony being the most serious. Depending on the circumstances, a judge may sentence on the lower end or the higher end of the charge. Also, a prosecutor may offer a deal on the lower or higher end.
To learn more about the penalty enhancements involving firearms in New York, seek the services of an accomplished firearm lawyer.
Aggravating Factors for Firearm Charges
Any firearms charge could have aggravating factors, depending on the nature and circumstances of the arrest and the person’s criminal history. Some cases are straightforward and not much is going on behind the scenes that could affect the prosecutor’s plans for the case. Any firearms case could potentially have something that either enhances the penalty or has a mitigating factor, which a judge or prosecutor may consider lowering their proposed offer or sentence range.
Examples of Aggravating Factors
Some examples of penalty enhancements involving firearms in New York are:
- Loaded gun
- History of illegal firearms use
- Person’s criminal history
- Use of the firearm to commit an additional crime
When the prosecutor or judge determines an offer or a sentence, they consider whether the use of the firearm was passive or was displayed or brandished in some way. Some lesser factors are whether the safety was on or off when the gun was recovered and whether the serial number is defaced or masked in any way. Also, they will look to see if the gun was legally purchased or if it was stolen. When a gun is unregistered or stolen, that is a red flag for a prosecutor dealing with the case. Prosecutors view it as an indicator that a gun is going to be used in unlawful activity because unregistered guns are more difficult to trace.
Defenses for Firearm Charges
One defense available to an individual facing penalty enhancements involving firearms is developing a holistic view of the circumstances including the alleged crime, the location of the gun, who had it, whether it was loaded, and whether it was registered. The defense attorney presents the defendant as a human being rather than just a docket number or an indictment number and a crime.
Some defenses might be the circumstances of the defendant’s upbringing, opportunities they never had, what the gun was being used for, and whether this is their first offense. There is a big difference in using a gun to rob a person and take their credit card to using a gun to steal diapers and loaves of bread. Each is wrong, but perhaps one of them is more wrong than the other. The attorney looks for circumstances that tend to explain why the defendant committed the offense rather than justify what happened.
How a New York Firearm Attorney Could Help
Having a defense attorney is extremely important because the aggravating factors of a case can have a dramatic impact on a plea negotiation or sentence. An experienced defense lawyer may present mitigating factors in a persuasive way to counter aggravating factors or penalty enhancements. It is important to have an attorney who can demonstrate that the situation did not happen in the way the prosecutor alleges. If they did and there is no getting around that, the attorney might provide some additional information to temper the charges. If you are facing penalty enhancements involving firearms in New York, call a seasoned lawyer today.