The New York Criminal Law Blog

Rapper Ja Rule Begins 2-Year Jail Sentence for Gun Possession

“Holla Holla” rapper Ja Rule is set to begin a two-year prison sentence on Rikers Island after having pled guilty to a gun charge last year. Ja Rule tweeted to his fans “my last day out” while spending time with his family at the movies reports the Associated Press.

Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, pled guilty to criminal possession of a gun last December resolving a four-year old case. According to the AP, in 2007, police found a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun inside Ja Rule’s Mercedes Benz when he was stopped for speeding after leaving a concert in Manhattan. Coincidentally, rapper Lil Wayne was arrested and served eight months in a city jail for the same offense after leaving the same concert.

Had Ja Rule not pled guilty, he could have faced significant jail time for criminal possession of a gun. New York's penalties for criminal possession of a weapon include:

  • Criminal Possession in the Fourth Degree. The lowest offense reserved for those who are merely in possession of an illegal firearm can result in a class A misdemeanor charge and one-year jail term.
  • Criminal Possession in the Third Degree. Someone in possession of an illegal arm who has previously been convicted of a crime faces a class D felony charge and seven-year jail term.
  • Criminal Possession in the Second Degree. A person guilty of criminal possession with intent to use the weapon faces a class C felony charge and 15-year jail term.

New York's gun laws are harsh and Ja Rule's two-year prison term serves as an example that even platinum-album-selling rappers are not immune from these laws.

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