A guilty plea to a felony gun charge most often carries a sentence of incarceration. However, there are exceptions where early negotiations between criminal defense counsel and the prosecution result in more lenient deals that are favorable to defendants who fully cooperate in the process. That is basically the outcome obtained by former New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton, who was traded to another team last month.
In Felton’s case, the gun charge coincided with a rocky time in his life as he struggled with a shaky basketball season and tried to handle the breakup of his marriage at the same time. A few months back Felton’s wife’s attorney came to police headquarters and turned in an illegal, loaded semi-automatic handgun that reportedly belonged to the professional basketball star. The wife reportedly wanted it out of the house.
Felton did not try to use the gun and there are no charges of intimidation of his wife or others. In the plea deal, the defendant pleaded guilty to the main charge of criminal possession of a firearm. He admitted to the court that what he did was wrong, and he apologized. He was sentenced on the spot to 500 hours of community service and given a $5,000 fine. The community service will be allowed outside the state.
New York has a gun law that prohibits some large-capacity ammunition magazines, and Felton’s 20-round capacity was illegal. The NBA has the ability to impose a fine or suspension. The league had no comment but was said to be monitoring the case. His criminal defense counsel stated that Felton was looking forward to starting a new chapter of his life fresh up with his new team, after what was admittedly a very stressful year in New York.
Source: ESPN Dallas, “Raymond Felton of Dallas Mavericks pleads guilty in gun case, spared jail“, , July 23, 2014