A woman from North Augusta, SC, who was arrested for having a loaded .38 caliber handgun in her car over Memorial Day weekend, was released on $13,000 bail or $31,000 bond on Wednesday, May 30, according to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office.
Ashley Nicole Wheeler, 23, posted bail hours after a court appearance in Southampton Town Justice Court. Wheeler, who came to New York with her boyfriend to work at a golf course for the season, spent several days at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverside, where she was held on $30,000 bail because she could not establish her residency at the Flanders rental where she is living, according to her attorney, Edward Burke of Noyac.
Wheeler, who does not have any prior arrests, was given the handgun for protection by her mother and was ignorant of New York’s laws prohibiting the possession or transportation of a loaded gun without a license, Burke explained. He added that he looks forward to addressing all aspects of his client, both “personally and professionally,” with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Wheeler, wearing gray dress pants and a blue-and-white-checked dress blouse, told the court she lives with her boyfriend in North Augusta and has plans to re-enroll in Augusta University to study dental hygiene.
She was caught with a loaded handgun and mace in her car at a checkpoint, which was conducted by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s East End Driving While Intoxicated Tax Force, targeting drunk and drugged drivers in Flanders, and a male passenger in her car at the time of the arrest was charged with possession of marijuana, a violation.
Wheeler, however, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and fourth-criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, as well as possession of a noxious material, a misdemeanor.
If convicted, Wheeler is facing up to 15 years in prison on the top charge of weapons possession and is due back in court at a later date.