Monmouth County NJ Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Defense Lawyers
In New Jersey, a charge for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon can arise in a variety of circumstances, involving weapons ranging from handguns to knives and assault rifles. These offenses can result in second, third, or fourth degree felony charges, depending on the specific weapon associated with the alleged offense. Notably, New Jersey does not abide by the terms of reciprocity among states in honoring concealed carry permits for firearms. As such, an individual traveling through New Jersey with a valid license for his or her weapon that was obtained in another state can still be subject to charges for unlawful possession of a weapon while within the confines of New Jersey’s state lines.
Further, some of the charges included under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, the statute that addresses charges for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, are also subject to stringent sentencing guidelines mandated by New Jersey’s “Graves Act.” These offenses are punishable by a mandatory term of imprisonment, in addition to a period of parole ineligibility for those convicted. For example, if you are found guilty of a second degree crime such as unlawful possession of a handgun, you are facing a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 10 years, with a period of parole ineligibility fixed at or between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater. Clearly, an accusation involving unlawful possession of a weapon can result in severe repercussions. As a result, these charges should be addressed immediately by a knowledgeable legal professional in order to ensure a more desirable outcome.
The seasoned defense lawyers at Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington have defended a multitude of clients charged with unlawful possession of a weapon in New Jersey. Whether the weapon that gave rise to your charges is a rifle, a knife, or even a BB gun, our attorneys have the skills and the ferocity to combat the State’s case against you and, if necessary, to negotiate a more favorable sentence in your stead. For additional information as to how we can assist you in moving forward, contact our West Long Branch offices at 732-440-3950 or call toll free at 888-328-9131. A member of our criminal defense team will be pleased to provide you with a free consultation.
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, which details the myriad of offenses subsumed under the category of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon:
a. Machine guns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession a machine gun or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without being licensed to do so is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
b. Handguns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same is guilty of a crime of the third degree if the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person. Otherwise it is a crime of the second degree.
c. Rifles and shotguns.
1. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
2. Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
d. Other weapons. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
f. Assault firearms. Any person who knowingly has in his possession an assault firearm is guilty of a crime of the second degree except if the assault firearm is licensed, registered or rendered inoperable.
Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in New Jersey
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon as a Second Degree Crime: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon as a Third Degree Crime: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon as a Fourth Degree Crime: punishable by a maximum term of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.
Graves Act Sentencing for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in New Jersey
As mentioned above, some of the offenses enumerated under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 are subject to the specific sentencing guidelines outlined in New Jersey’s Graves Act. Specifically, violations of subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this statute, pertaining to machine guns, handguns, shotguns, and rifles, are bound by Graves Act requirements. As a result, an individual who is found guilty of one of the aforementioned violations will be sentenced to a mandatory term of incarceration, along with a period of parole ineligibility fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of a sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater.
One important exception to this rule applies to those who are traveling through New Jersey, have no prior criminal record, and have obtained a lawful permit or license for their weapon in another state. With the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in State law, these individuals may be considered for enrollment in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, often referred to as “PTI.” Pre-Trial Intervention is a diversionary program that serves a viable alternative for defendants who meet qualifying criteria. PTI is essentially a probationary period during which the enrolled individual is expected to comply with all program requirements. Provided that he or she does so, the charges will be dismissed at the conclusion of the probationary term.
Contact Howell NJ Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Law Firm for Assistance
For immediate assistance from one of the seasoned weapons defense attorneys at Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington, contact our Monmouth County offices at 732-440-3950 or toll free at 888-328-9131. Allow us to serve as your steadfast legal advocates from the moment you are charged until your case’s conclusion.