A 55-year-old Florida woman was arrested on felony weapons charges Tuesday after she unwittingly tried to bring a loaded handgun into Riverhead Town Justice Court.
When Yolanda Delgado of Daytona Beach attempted to enter the Howell Avenue courthouse, located in the same building as the Riverhead police station, about 1 p.m., court officers found a loaded .32 caliber pistol in her purse, which her husband, Wally, claimed she is licensed to own in Florida.
Mr. Delgado said the pair were visiting their daughter in Centereach and were at Justice Court to pay a fine for traffic violation. He said that his wife simply forgot the gun was in her handbag.
“She made a mistake,” Mr. Delgado said shortly before getting into his car and leaving the court to get his wife’s $2,500 bail. “We are law abiding.”
At her arraignment four hours after her initial arrest, Ms. Delgado, wearing denim capris, a button-down plaid shirt with her hands cuffed behind her back, looked forlorn and was soft-spoken in front of Justice Allen Smith.
At one point Ms. Delgado, who said she is disabled, felt faint and had to sit down. A court officer removed her handcuffs so she could eat a granola bar Judge Smith had given her.
She was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Judge Smith warned her that she could possibly be indicted by a grand jury on additional charges.
If convicted of the original charge, Ms. Delgado could face up to 15 years in prison, according to state penal law.
“Football players are being sent to prison for what amounts to the same thing,” Judge Smith said.
He also noted that she has no criminal record.
Mr. Delgado explained the circumstances to Judge Smith shortly before the judge set bail.
“The problem, sir, is the serious nature of the crime,” Judge Smith responded.
Ms. Delgado pleaded not guilty and was released on $2,500 bail Tuesday evening. She is due back in court Aug. 23.