It may not seem all that uncommon to read news stories about professional athletes getting into some legal trouble. Quite frequently, we learn about a player getting arrested for DUI, assault or other criminal offense and the story makes national headlines. But people who are not high-profile or public figures face these very same challenges every day. Their story may not be the top story on the news, but it can certainly be one of the most difficult and upsetting events in their lives.
Because the stories of athletes and celebrities are so widely reported, they can serve as strong examples of what may be at stake for others facing similar situations. For example, New York Knicks player Raymond Felton was recently arrested and charged with a weapons offense. While few details about this situation have been released, it may be a good opportunity to discuss some of the challenges that any person can face if they are also facing weapons charges in New York.
According to reports, Felton turned himself in to authorities after an altercation involving Felton and a firearm. It is not clear how the authorities learned that Felton was in possession of a gun, as there are no charges related to Felton waving the gun around or using a gun to threaten anyone. But police discovered that he had a firearm, which is not necessarily a crime. However, because the gun was not registered to Felton, he was charged with felony and misdemeanor possession of a firearm.
A person can be arrested and charged with a weapons offense if they are in possession of an unregistered gun in New York. They do not need to be using it to intimidate or hurt anyone, and the gun does not even need to be loaded for a person to be charged with a serious offense.
However, this does not mean that a person is automatically guilty of a weapons offense. There may be ways to defend yourself against the charges, which may include scrutinizing police procedure and the search and seizure process. If a person’s rights were violated during these steps, it may be possible to pursue a dismissal of charges. There may also be ways to argue for a reduction of charges or leniency in sentencing. Speaking with an attorney can be a good way to explore these options and pursue the best possible outcome.
Source: ESPN, “Knicks’ Raymond Felton arrested,” Ian Begley, Feb. 25, 2014