Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose

Mercer County NJ Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose Lawyer

Local Gun Charge Lawyer in Trenton NJ. Possession of Gun for Unlawful Purpose Charge Sentence in NJ.If you have been charged with possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose in Mercer County it is crucial that you speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Not only is this charge an extremely serious offense but based on the new bail guidelines that came into effect in January of 2017, a Defendant charged with this type of offense may be forced to fight these charges from behind bars. Pursuant to the new guidelines, a Defendant could be held in the Mercer County Jail without bail, pending trial. In order to do so, the prosecution must prove at a Detention Hearing that the Defendant possess a risk to the community. So, it is now more than ever, important that a Defendant charged with a serious criminal offense like this to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. These detention hearings can and should be contested by an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney. 

On top of the bail issues, a Defendant charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose is facing life changing consequences if convicted. The penalties could include lengthy incarceration, mandatory parole ineligibility periods, high fines and a felony criminal record. In addition, most Defendants charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose are also charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, unlawful possession of a weapon, robbery, burglary and handgun charges. If you have been charged with any of the aforementioned offense in Mercer County, in towns like Hamilton, Trenton, Princeton, Robbinsville, Lawrence, West Windsor or Hightstown, the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. Our attorneys are well equipped to handle these types of serious offenses. If you would like to discuss your potential options with one of our Mercer County weapons defense attorneys then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. For more information on the offense of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, please see below.

Penalties of Weapon & Firearms Charges in Trenton NJ

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 is the governing statute in New Jersey for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The statute is broken down into different subsections and each subsection covers different types of “weapons”. When most people hear the word “weapon” they think of a gun, a knife or a bow and arrow but the term weapon under the New Jersey criminal code means so much more. Almost anything can be considered a weapon, i.e. a baseball bat, a bottle, a chair, a wrench etc. So under this statute, what otherwise would be considered a lawful item, which has a totally legitimate purpose, could be the bases for being charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Here is a breakdown in the different subsections of the statute.

Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose:

Firearms: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a

In order to be convicted of this offense the state must prove:

  • The item in question was a firearm;
  • That the Defendant possessed the firearm;
  • That while possessing the firearm, the Defendant had the intent to use it against another; &
  • The Defendant’s underlying intent was to use it unlawfully.

This is a second degree felony offense in New Jersey. It also falls under what is known as the Graves Act. So, if convicted, a Defendant will face anywhere from five (5) to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine up to $150,000. In addition, pursuant to the Graves Act, a Defendant must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment and a period of parole ineligibility must be set at a minimum of forty-two months.  So the least possible sentence that a Defendant could receive is a five year New Jersey State Prison sentence with a forty-two month parole ineligibility period.  

Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose:

“Other Weapons”: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d

In order to be convicted of this offense the state must prove:

  • The item in question was a “weapon”;
  • That the Defendant possessed the “weapon”;
  • That while possessing the “weapon”, the Defendant had the intent to use it against another; &
  • The Defendant’s underlying intent was to use it unlawfully.

This is a third degree felony offense in New Jersey. This offense does NOT falls under the Graves Act. So, if convicted, a Defendant will face anywhere from three (3) to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine up to $15,000. A “weapon” has been defined by the courts as “anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury”. So, as touched upon earlier, almost anything can be considered a weapon.

Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose:

“Imitation Firearm”: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4e

In order to be convicted of this offense the state must prove:

  • The item in question was an  imitation firearm;
  • That the Defendant possessed the imitation firearm;
  • That Defendant possessed the imitation firearm under circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe it was possessed for an unlawful purpose; &
  • The Defendant knew that the person would reasonably believe that the imitation firearm was possessed for an unlawful purpose.

This is a fourth degree felony offense in New Jersey. Like the “weapons” subsection, this offense does NOT falls under the Graves Act. So, if convicted, a Defendant will face up to eighteen (18) months in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose Attorneys in Hamilton NJ

As you can see from reading above, this offense is extremely serious. This offense, like most weapons and drug offenses usually stem from some form of a search and/or seizure. If that is the case, an experienced Mercer County criminal lawyer can make a tremendous difference. They can attack the underlying search during a suppression hearing and if successful, the charges could end up being dismissed outright. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, possession of a gun, possession of heroin, eluding, stalking or carjacking in Mercer County, we can help. We serve all of Mercer County including Hamilton, Lawrence, Trenton, West Windsor, Princeton and Ewing. If you would like a free face to face consultation then please contact us at (609)789-0779.