New York Penal Law § 225.20: Possession of gambling records in the first degree

Although gambling has become more widespread in recent years, many types of gambling still remain illegal in New York. In fact, it is illegal to merely possess records related to such unlawful gambling. Under New York Penal Law § 225.20 you could be charged with possession of gambling records in the first degree if you knowingly possess any paper, writing or article:

  1. Of a kind commonly used in the operation of a bookmaking scheme or enterprise reflecting more than five bets totaling more than $5000;
  2. Of a kind commonly used in the operation of a lottery or policy scheme or enterprise reflecting more than 500 plays or chances.
Example

The police received information that illegal gambling was being carried out using a particular telephone number. The police traced the number to an apartment and learned that there were other telephone lines tied to that apartment. While standing near the apartment, the police heard phones ringing and several people talking. The police also heard a male voice giving numerical data that sounded like point spreads. Upon executing a search warrant on the apartment the police found $600 in cash, written and audio gambling records reflecting 11 days of entries and over $1 million in bets. The apartment was leased to Stanley Traymore. He was charged with possession of gambling records in the first degree. People v. Traymore, 672 N.Y.S.2d 44 (N. Y. A. D. 1 Dept., 1998)

Related Offenses
  1. Promoting gambling in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 225.10
  2. Possession of a gambling device: New York Penal Law § 225.30
Defenses

A possible defense is coercion. For example, if you have gambling records because you have been forced to participate in a gambling enterprise in order to satisfy a gambling debt, then you would have a defense to a charge of possession of gambling records.

To prove that you are guilty of possession of gambling records in the first degree, the prosecutor must show that you knowingly possessed the records. If the records were found in your roommate's bedroom, for example, and not in your bedroom or in any common areas of the apartment, then you may have a valid defense to a charge of possession of gambling records.

In addition, to be guilty of first degree possession of gambling records, the prosecutor must prove that the amount of money and the number of bets placed meet the minimums required by the statute.

Sentence

Possession of gambling records in the first degree is a Class E felony. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 4 years in prison, a probation term of 5 years, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 225.20: Possession of gambling records in the first degree

A person is guilty of possession of gambling records in the first degree when, with knowledge of the contents thereof, he possesses any writing, paper, instrument or article:

  1. Of a kind commonly used in the operation or promotion of a bookmaking scheme or enterprise, and constituting, reflecting or representing more than five bets totaling more than five thousand dollars; or
  2. Of a kind commonly used in the operation, promotion or playing of a lottery or policy scheme or enterprise, and constituting, reflecting or representing more than five hundred plays or chances therein.
New York Possession of Gambling Records in the First Degree Lawyer

If you are under investigation for the crime of possession of gambling records in the first degree, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced attorney. If you are convicted you could end up in prison. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of various types of crimes including both felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of gambling offenses in the following locations:

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