New York Giants star wide receiver Plaxico Burress is in serious legal jeopardy, facing two counts of illegal weapons possession in New York which could land him in prison for a minimum of 3 1/2 years. This past Saturday, Burress went to the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan, accompanied by teammates Antonio Pierce and Ahmad Bradshaw. At approximately 1:00 AM, when security guards questioned whether Burress had a weapon, Burress reached for his .40 caliber Glock and accidentally shot himself in the right thigh. He was treated at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital for his injuries and released.
On December 1st, Mr. Burress was booked, handcuffed and arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on two counts of illegal weapons possession, pursuant to Section 265 of the New York Penal Law. Apparently, Mr. Burress did not have a permit for the Glock semiautomatic pistol. Burress was released after posting $100,000 bail, and is due back in Court on March 31, 2009. The Giants have suspended Burress without pay, fined him and placed him on the reserve list for a non-football injury, effectively ending his season and in all likelihood, his career with the Giants.
Interestingly, had this incident occurred just two years ago, New York judges had the option of not imposing any jail time on defendants found guilty of illegal possession of a loaded firearm. However, due to pressure from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others, in November of 2006, Governor Pataki signed into law a provision which made illegal possession of a firearm the legal equivalent of robbery or burglary, a C felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three and a half years. In the wake of the shooting death of Washington Redskins star defensive back Sean Taylor last year, and the recent robbery of fellow Giants receiver Steven Smith at gunpoint last week, it is probably not surprising that some players feel the need to arm themselves, but this will not aid Burress’ defense in this case.
According to John Caher of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, 986 people were arrested last year on the same charges as Burress was, and 90 percent ended up convicted of less serious crimes, including 50% which resulted in misdemeanors or violations.
If you are charged with a New York illegal possession offense, or any other crime, contact The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 for a free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who will explain in detail your legal rights and options and provide the best defense possible.