Using a Weapon in a Prohibited Manner: New York Penal Code § 265.35

In the State of New York, dangerous or irresponsible use of weapons is strictly prohibited. Under New York Penal Code § 265.35, it is a violation of the law if a person:

  1. Maims or injures another person by discharging a firearm,
  2. Discharges a firearm while it is pointed at another person,
  3. Points a firearm at another person,
  4. Discharges a weapon in a public place,
  5. Discharges a firearm at an aircraft or a train, or
  6. Hunts with a dangerous weapon near a city.
Hypothetical Case

A man was celebrating New Year’s Eve with other revelers, and he fired his handgun into the air while standing on the city sidewalk in front of his house, adding to the noise of firecrackers and neighbors cheering as they expressed their excitement during the celebrations. Even though the man did not point his gun at anyone, the fact that he fired his gun while in a public place could result in his arrest for using a weapon in a prohibited manner.

Possible Defenses

Self defense or performing official duties. In the scenario above, for the person to be convicted of using a weapon in a prohibited manner, the prosecuting attorney must prove that the person fired the weapon while in a public place or in or near a city and was not defending himself or performing his official duties. If the person was defending himself or performing official duties, then the charges could be dropped.

Other lines of defense. Extensively experienced defense attorneys who have dealt with a variety of defense cases can draw on their successful strategies to fight the charge and protect their clients.

Possible Sentence

Imprisonment. The sentence levied depends on the type of prohibited use of a weapon with which a person was charged:

  1. Injuring or maiming a person by firing a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison.
  2. Pointing a weapon at a person and firing it is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison.
  3. Pointing a firearm at a person and firing it is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison.
  4. Firing a firearm in a public place is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison.
  5. Firing a firearm at a train or aircraft and endangering a life is a Class D felony carrying a penalty of up to seven years in prison.
  6. Firing a firearm at a train or aircraft is a Class E felony carrying a penalty of up to four years in prison.
  7. Hunting game with a dangerous weapon in or near a city is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison.
NY Penal Code § 265.35: Using a Weapon in a Prohibited Manner

To recap, a person will be found guilty of violating the law related to using a weapon in a prohibited manner if:

  1. The person was hunting with a dangerous weapon within city limits, a Class A misdemeanor, or
  2. The person fires a loaded firearm or gun that uses gunpowder at:
    1. A train or railcar, locomotive, or any vehicle that moves on a rail whether it is stationary or moving (Class D felony or a Class E felony if a person’s safety is endangered)
    2. An aircraft whether it is on the ground or in the air (Class D felony or a Class E felony if a person’s safety is endangered)
  3. If not in self defense or in the performance of an official duty, the person (Class A misdemeanor):
    1. Willfully discharges a firearm, air-gun or other weapon in a public place or any place where there is a person who could be endangered or, in Putnam county while within one quarter of a mile of any school building that is occupied without proper authorization even though no person is injured; or
    2. Without malice but intentionally aims or points a firearm or a gun that uses gunpowder at or toward any person; or
    3. Without malice but intentionally aims or points a firearm and discharges it even though no person was injured; or
    4. Without malice but intentionally injures or maims a person by firing a firearm or any gun that uses gunpowder while aiming or pointing the firearm or gun that uses gunpowder at that person.
Attorney to Defend Against the Charge of Using a Weapon in a Prohibited Manner

To effectively defend against a charge using a weapon in a prohibited manner, it is important that you obtain legal counsel from a qualified and experienced defense law firm with skilled staff to successfully protect your’ interests and rights and prevent your spending time behind bars and ruining your reputation.

The Elliott Adler PC attorney firm has aggressively defended persons charged with using a weapon in a prohibited manner, as well as other weapons and firearm violations, misdemeanors and felony crimes in the State of New York, including criminal possession of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of a firearm. The Elliot Adler PC law firm has a skilled and experienced team of reliable attorneys committed to providing effective advocacy in defense of their clients.

We can be reached at (212) 785-1300 or http://www.newyorkcriminallawyer24-7.com to schedule a no-obligation, free legal consultative meeting to evaluate your case.

Related Offenses

For additional information, refer to the following sections of the New York Penal Code:

  1. First degree criminal sale of a firearm: § 265.13
  2. Criminally possessing a weapon on school grounds: § 265.01-a