Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th Degree: 5 Things to Know

man holding a gun

If you are arrested for possessing a weapon illegally in New York State, then you can be certain that you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Weapons charges are very serious and the District Attorney Offices in Westchester County, New York City and the surrounding areas vigorously pursue convictions and penalties. While there are many different charges that are associated with possessing a weapon illegally, one of the most common is Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (CPW 4th), which is a misdemeanor.

        Criminal Possession of a Weapon in The Third Degree

a person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree when that person knowingly1 possesses any Select appropriate alternative(s):

  • explosives
  • firearms silencer
  • incendiary bomb
  • any firearm or weapon simulating a machine-gun and which is
    adaptable for such use
  1. When is CPW 4th Degree Charged?

The crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is relatively broad and can include a variety of different situations. Possessing a razor or dagger and intending to use it violently could be charged with this crime. Another common reason is when you own an explosive that is designed to detonate upon impact or if you have armor-piercing rounds. Additionally, those that have been convicted of a felony or are no longer considered suitable to have a weapon, could also be charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

  1. Related Offenses

Since criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is a relatively broad crime, there are many different crimes that are related to it. One of the most common similar crimes is criminal possession of a firearm, which is a more serious charge. It is possible to be charged with both of these crimes at once.

  1. Defending the CPW 4th Case

There are a variety of ways that you can go about fighting the charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree. Typically, the specific details surrounding the arrest will need to be reviewed and facts become important.

In some instances, you may be legally able to possess the weapon, but might be suspected of having malicious intent, as defined by the law. In such a circumstance, the question becomes what you intended to use the weapon for, and you can fight to show that you did not intend to use it for a violent purpose.

Another way to defend against charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is to claim that there was illegal search and seizure. Many people are charged with CPW 4th when a weapon is found in their car or home. If the police officer did not have your approval, your consent or a warrant to search you, your car or your home, gaining the evidence would be illegal and a violation of your rights. Evidence illegally seized would be deemed inadmissible against you during the trial.

  1. Sentencing: The Penalties of a Conviction

As a misdemeanor crime, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree carries some serious penalties. Depending on various factors, including the facts involved and whether or not you have a prior criminal record, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail. However, it should be known that most people convicted of this crime will receive a probationary sentence. Convictions also have monetary penalties and fines which are always a consideration.

  1. Get Representation Immediately

If you are under investigation, have a warrant issued for your arrest or have been charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, it is incredibly important that you speak with a criminal defense attorney, who is familiar with these types of crimes, immediately. It is also imperative that you do not meet or speak with anyone else about the case until you have spoken to and retained a defense lawyer. The best advice is to remain silent and do not speak to the police. Your criminal defense should start as soon as you know that you are being investigated or arrested.

Stephen J. Riebling, Jr. and Marcia Payton are criminal defense attorneys at Riebling & Payton, PLLC, located in Westchester County, NY. They have successfully defended numerous clients charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon and related crimes over almost a combined 5 decades. To learn more about them, the firm and their approach please visit Riebling & Payton, PLLC at

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