Friday, February 15, 2013

A Valentine's Day Court Story

We finished a non-jury trial yesterday, Valentine's Day. The defendant was on parole for weapons possession and is alleged to have possessed another illegal gun in his house.

We must prove that he "constructively possessed" the gun.  There are two kinds of possession - physical and constructive.  Physical is when you have the weapon on you and constructive is when you have control over the weapon or the area, but it is not on your person.

Since there were only two adults in the house, we were forced to bring in the other adult to say it was not her gun.  So, on Valentine's Day, the girlfriend testified against her boyfriend.  How did you spend your Valentine's Day?


  1. Much better than they did, that's for sure!

  2. Like nuclear fission, I suppose constructive possession can be used for good or evil. . . such as the commonplace occurrence when you have forgotten your wallet at home, which contains your driver's license, etc. Would one be protected by NY 507(b)by depositing with the court within a reasonable time the valid document one could not produce (active possession) for law enforcement? (sorry, not a lawyer but interested in these things anyway).

    1. To make it clear, we are discussing getting pulled over and not having your license on you. While it is still a violation to drive without having the physical license on you, many courts and police agencies will allow you to bring it to the courthouse to clear up the charges without having to plead guilty to anything or pay any fines.