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Defendant Charged with Gun Possession

On March 11, 2007, two police officers were on motor patrol in an area known for gang activity. At around 11:30 pm, a man walked in front of the police officers’ unmarked car. The man was walking slowly, impeding the smooth flow of traffic on the street. A New York Criminal Lawyer said that as he passed the police officers’ car, one of the police officers noticed a shiny object glinting at the rear right pants pocket of the man who passed by.

As the man was walking slowly, the officer noted that the glinting object appeared to be metallic and it was inside his rear pocket. Only the clip was showing outside and the top part of the object was protruding from the pocket.

The police officer has had the experience of making 50 arrests for weapons possessions and he believed that the glinting object clipped to the man’s pocket was either a gravity knife or a small-caliber handgun.

By the time the officers in their car caught up with the man, he had already boarded his car. The officers stopped the man’s car and asked him to exit his vehicle. A New York Criminal Lawyer said that the police officers were standing two to three feet behind the man as he exited his vehicle and they could well see the metal clip on his right rear pocket.

The police officer did not frisk the man and did not ask him a question. The officer simply took the clipped object from his right rear pocket and found it to be a gravity knife as he had suspected.

The police officer arrested the man for criminal possession of a weapon. While handcuffed in the police officer’s car, the man told the police officers that he only had the knife because he believed that someone he knew was going to try to kill him.

The man was charged and arraigned for criminal possession of a weapon. At trial, the arresting officer was the sole witness for the prosecution. The man objected to the admission of his statement in the police car after he was already arrested that he only had the knife on him because he was afraid that someone was out to kill him. He also sought that the knife not be admitted into evidence as fruit of an illegal search. The trial court granted the man’s motion and suppressed the man’s statement to the police officer and suppressed the admission of the confiscated weapon, the gravity knife.

The People appealed. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the only question before the Supreme Court was whether or not the arrest of the man and the seizure of the concealed knife were proper such that evidence obtained as a result of the man’s arrest and the seizure of the weapon ought not be suppressed.

The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the trial court. The Court held that the arresting officer was a seasoned veteran who has made 50 arrests for possession of concealed weapons. He had a familiarity with weapons such as knives or handguns. Although at the time that the officer first noticed the man he was not engaged in any suspicious activity as he was only crossing the street, the officer saw a metallic glint that gave him a reasonable suspicion that the crime of felony possession of a weapon was being committed. The officer acted property when he secured the suspicious object by removing it from the man’s pocket. The seizure made visible and only confirmed what the officer knew and believed: that the man was carrying an illegal weapon.

The arresting police officer had extensive training and experience in concealed weapons. Merely seeing the clip could not have given the police officer the certainty that the object in the pant pocket was an illegal weapon or a handgun, but it did give him a reasonable suspicion that the object which was secured by a clip was indeed an illegal weapon. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the officer had a reasonable suspicion of illegality.

A New York Gun Crime Lawyer will advice you that carrying concealed weapons is a crime. Further, a New York City Gun Crime Lawyer will tell you that an officer may stop you on the street even if he only has a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today, speak to any of their NYC Gun Crime Lawyers and ask for their assistance and advice. You may speak to any of the NY Gun Crime Attorneys at any of the offices of Stephen Bilkis and Associates in Nassau County.

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