Unlawful Possession Weapon
New Jersey represents one of the most aggressive states in the country as it relates to gun policy and enforcement. For example, New Jersey refuses to legitimize permits that are legally issued to residents from other states. As a result, an individual traveling through New Jersey with his or her firearm, who does not have a New Jersey permit to purchase or carry a handgun, can be subject to criminal weapons charges for unlawful possession of a weapon and severe penalties. New Jersey also casts a broad net concerning what actually constitutes a weapon, including BB guns, brass knuckles, and many other items under this classification. With all of these restrictions, it is strikingly common for otherwise law-abiding citizens to become defendants in criminal cases while entirely unaware that they are in violation of the law. Further compounding the issue, the State punishes those convicted of firearms-related offenses with mandatory minimum terms of incarceration and periods of parole ineligibility, as mandated by the Graves Act.
Regardless of the circumstances of your specific case, charges for unlawful possession of a weapon are always indictable, meaning they are adjudicated in the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense occurred, and they carry a minimum term of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison. Depending on the degree of the charges, you may face up to 10 years of incarceration. Criminal defense attorney Tara Breslow has been aggressively defending those accused of unlawful possession of a weapon and other weapons crimes for the last decade. Having achieved countless successful outcomes for clients in Monmouth and Ocean counties, she has earned a reputation as a passionate and skilled advocate who always goes the extra mile for her clients. To view some of Tara’s client reviews, visit her profile on Avvo.com. You can also contact her offices anytime to receive a cost-free consultation.Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Lawyer in Freehold NJ
The primary distinguishing factor among charges for unlawful possession of a weapon is the specific weapon involved in the alleged offense. This is extremely significant, as it determines the degree of the charges and the potential penalties associated with a conviction. New Jersey law outlines charges for unlawful possession of a weapon in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. This statute includes subsections that address the weapons categories outlined below.Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun
Any person who knowingly has in his possession a machine gun or instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun without being licensed is guilty of a second degree crime. These offenses are punishable by a sentence to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison. They are also subject to the sentencing guidelines outlined in New Jersey’s Graves Act, which requires a mandatory term of imprisonment with a minimum period of parole ineligibility fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of a sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater.Unlawful Possession of a Handgun
Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including an antique handgun without first having obtained a permit to carry same is guilty of a second degree crime. If the gun is in the nature of an air gun or pellet pistol then it is a third degree crime. Second degree crimes entail a prison sentence of between 5 and 10 years, while third degree crimes are punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years. Unlawful possession of a handgun offenses are also governed by the Graves Act.Unlawful Possession of a Rifle or Shotgun
Any person who knowingly has in her possession any rifle or shotgun without first having obtained a firearms purchaser identification card is guilty of a third degree crime. Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a third degree crime. These offenses are punishable by a sentence to serve between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and they are also subject to Graves Act mandatory minimums.Unlawful Possession of 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 fourth degree crime. These offenses are punishable by a sentence to serve up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.The Pre-Trial Intervention Option for Certain NJ Gun Charge Defendants
In the last few years, there were several hotly debated cases involving out-of-state residents who were arrested and charged criminally for traveling through New Jersey with legally licensed firearms from other states. Since then, the New Jersey Attorney General issued a directive which allows for PTI consideration for certain offenders charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. These individuals may be deemed eligible for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), a diversionary program that provides an alternative to incarceration through the completion of a probationary period, after which the charges are dismissed. In order to be given PTI consideration when charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a resident of another state;
- Have no existing criminal record;
- Have purchased and become licensed to possess and/or carry the firearm in another state;
- Inform the law enforcement officer that you are in possession of a firearm; and
- Be unaware of New Jersey law regarding firearms
If you or someone you love has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon or another weapons offense, it is essential to understand and pursue all of your available legal options. For additional information, contact the Law Offices of Tara Breslow for a free initial consultation. Ms. Breslow has effectively resolved cases through PTI enrollment and dismissals at trial for clients in Red Bank, Freehold, Asbury Park, Seaside Heights, and throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties. She will be happy to discuss your case and to answer all of your questions.