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NY Penal Law § 265.01-a: Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds

The New York Penal Code has several different gun laws prohibiting possessing firearms and other dangerous weapons. There are specific weapons rules that are designed to protect educational institutions from gun violence and violence resulting from other types of dangerous weapons. Under New York Penal Code § 265.01-a, it is against the law to possess a shotgun, rifle or firearm on the property of a school without the prior authorization of that educational institution. "School" is defined as a school, college, or university. The statute does not apply to forestry lands owned by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry or a school bus.


A college student was believed to have a large amount of drugs in his college dorm room. Based on a credible tip and other evidence the police received a search warrant and searched the student's room. They uncovered a substantial amount of cocaine. The police also found a loaded gun. In addition to facing a felony criminal possession of a controlled substance charge, the student will also be charged with criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal possession of a firearm: New York Penal Code § 265.01-b
  2. Unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds: New York Penal Code § 265.06

If the police uncovered the weapon during a search, one way to defend a charge of criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds is to challenge the search that uncovered the weapon as unlawful. For example, if you are walking on a college campus and the police stop and search you even though there were no signs that you had committed a crime, the stop and search would be unlawful. If as a result of the stop the police found a firearm the prosecutor would have a tough time prosecuting you as the firearm would likely be deemed inadmissible as it was the result of an unlawful search.


Because criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds is a class E felony, if you are convicted the maximum possible prison sentence that you will receive is 4 years. Your sentence could also include a fine as well as a probation term of 5 years. In determining your sentence the judge will consider a number of factors including your criminal history. If you are a first time offender your sentence will be less severe than if you have a prior criminal history.

New York Penal Code § 265.01-a: Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds when he or she knowingly has in his or her possession a rifle, shotgun, or firearm in or upon a building or grounds, used for educational purposes, of any school, college, or university, except the forestry lands, wherever located, owned and maintained by the State University of New York college of environmental science and forestry, or upon a school bus as defined in § one hundred forty-two of the vehicle and traffic law, without the written authorization of such educational institution.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are charged with criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds you should take it seriously because if you are convicted you could end up in prison. However, there may be defenses available to you that may result in the charges being dropped or reduced. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with gun crimes, grand larceny, white collar crimes, and other serious crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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