What Penalties Do I Face If Caught With Brass Knuckles in NYC?

What Penalties Do I Face If Caught With Brass Knuckles in NYC?

So you got caught with some brass knuckles in your pocket in New York City. Not cool. Those things are illegal to carry in NYC and you could be facing some pretty serious penalties. I feel you though – NYC’s weapons laws can be confusing. Like, what even are “brass knuckles” technically? And why are they illegal when so much other stuff isn’t? Let me break it down for you real quick.

Brass Knuckles are No Joke in NYC

First things first – brass knuckles are basically any weapon designed to fit around your fingers to punch people harder. They can be made of brass, sure, but also metal, plastic, whatever. The technical legal definition in NY Penal Code 265.01 is:> “Metal knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metal knuckles” So yeah, super broad definition. Basically if you’re carrying anything to punch harder, not good in NYC. The reason they’re illegal is because they can cause serious injuries, even kill someone if you hit them right. So in New York they’re considered an illegal “dangerous weapon” that you can be arrested and charged for possessing.

Penalties for Brass Knuckles in NYC

If you get caught with brass knuckles, here’s what you can expect:

  • Misdemeanor Criminal Possession of a Weapon Charge – Just having brass knuckles on you is automatically a class A misdemeanor under NY Penal Code 265.01.
  • Up to 1 Year in Jail – A class A misdemeanor carries up to 1 year in jail. Yes, jail not prison. Still sucks though.
  • Up to $1000 Fine – On top of jail time, the court can hit you with fines up to $1000. Not fun.
  • Permanent Criminal Record – This misdemeanor weapons charge will end up on your criminal record. That can make things like getting a job way harder.
  • Other Weapons Charges – If you used the brass knuckles to threaten or injure someone, you’ll also likely get charged with additional crimes like assaultmenacing, etc. That’s even more jail time and fines.
  • Civil Lawsuit – If you injured someone with the brass knuckles, they can also sue you for money damages in civil court. Yet another big headache.

So yeah, having brass knuckles in NYC is risky business with very serious legal consequences if you get caught. Not worth it dude.

Defenses for Brass Knuckles Charges

If you do wind up getting charged for possessing brass knuckles in the city, don’t panic. There are defenses your criminal defense lawyer can use to fight the charges, like:

  • You didn’t know you had them – If the brass knuckles weren’t yours and you honestly didn’t realize they were in your bag or whatever, you aren’t knowingly possessing them illegally.
  • They aren’t actually brass knuckles – If what you have doesn’t meet the technical legal definition of brass knuckles under NY Penal Code 265.01, you may be able to get the charges dismissed.
  • Illegal search – If the brass knuckles were discovered through an unconstitutional search by police, the evidence can be thrown out.

A good NYC criminal defense attorney knows all the arguments to make in brass knuckles cases. So don’t just plead guilty without talking to lawyer first.

Getting Your Brass Knuckles Charges Dismissed

Because brass knuckle possession is only a misdemeanor in New York, there are a few ways a criminal defense lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed completely, like:

  • Plea Bargain – Plead guilty to a non-criminal violation instead of a misdemeanor criminal offense. No jail, no criminal record.
  • Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) – Case put on hold for 6 months or a year while you stay out of trouble. Charges dismissed after that if no issues.
  • Diversion Program – Complete community service, counseling program, etc. and get your charges dismissed upon completion.

Work with an experienced NYC weapons crimes lawyer to see if any of these options could keep the brass knuckles charges off your record.

Bottom Line – Don’t Carry Brass Knuckles in NYC

I know brass knuckles seem cool and make you feel tough walking around NYC. But trust me bro, if you get caught with them you’ll regret it big time. We’re talking jail, huge fines, criminal record and all kinds of legal headaches. Plus you could get sued or charged with assault too if you actually use them on someone. Do yourself a favor and leave the brass knuckles at home. If you really feel like you need protection get some pepper spray or something less illegal. And if you already got busted with them, call up a good criminal defense lawyer ASAP to start fighting the charges. Your future depends on it! Hope this helps explain the deal with brass knuckles laws in NYC. Stay safe out there man!


Videos Explaining Brass Knuckles Laws

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Reddit Threads Discussing Brass Knuckles

  • Thread on getting charged with assault for brass knuckles self-defense
  • Discussion about pros/cons of keeping brass knuckles for self-defense