New York Possession of a Chemical or Biological Weapon Charges Explained

In addition to numerous weapons and firearms charges, New York also separate criminal laws that prohibit possession of a chemical and biological weapons. There are three different New York Possession of a Chemical or Biological Weapon charges. Specifically they are:

The least serious of these charges is Criminal Possession of a Chemical or Biological Weapon in the Third Degree and the most serious is Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree. Nonetheless, all of these charges are felonies (punishable by more than 1 year in prison) and therefore require expert criminal defense counsel.

Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Third Degree

The least serious of these charges is Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Third Degree. Under New York Penal Law 490.37, a person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Third Degree when, he or she:

  1. Possesses any select chemical agent or select biological agent,
  2. Under circumstances evincing an intent by the defendant to use such weapon to cause serious physical injury or death to another person.

Penalties and Sentencing for Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Third Degree

New York Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Third Degree is a Class “C” Violent Felony. As such, this charge is punishable by 3.5 to 15 years in prison.

Criminal Possession of a Chemical or Biological Weapon in the Second Degree 

The charge of Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Second Degree is codified in New York Penal Law § 490.40. Under New York Law, a person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Second Degree when he or she:

  1. Possesses any chemical weapon or biological weapon with intent to use such weapon to:
    1. Cause serious physical injury to, or the death of, another person; and intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
    2. Influence the policy of a unit of government by intimidation or coercion; or
    3. Affect the conduct of a unit of government by murder, assassination, or kidnapping.
  2. Causes serious physical injury to, or the death of, more than two persons.

Penalties and Sentencing for Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Second Degree

Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the Second Degree is a Class “B” Violent Felony. Therefore, this particular charge is punishable by 5 to 25 years in prison.

Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the First Degree 

The most serious of these charges is Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the First Degree. This charge is codified in § 490.45 of the New York Penal Law. A person is guilty of this charge when he or she possesses:

  1. Any select chemical agent, with intent to use such agent to:
    1. Cause serious physical injury to, or the death of, another person; AND
    2. Intimidate or coerce a civilian population; OR
    3. Influence the policy of a unit of government by intimidation or coercion; OR
    4. Affect the conduct of a unit of government by murder, assassination, or kidnapping.
  2. Any select chemical agent, with intent to use such agent to cause serious physical injury to, or the death of, more than two other persons; OR
  3. Any select biological agent, with intent to use such agent to cause serious physical injury to, or the death of, another person.

Penalties and Sentencing for Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the First Degree

Under New York Law, Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon in the First Degree is a Class A-I felony. As such, this particular charge is punishable by

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If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with Criminal Possession of a chemical or biological weapon, you need top rated New York criminal defense attorneys by your side. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.