Unlawful Possession of a Weapon

Mercer County NJ Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Lawyers

Need Gun Charge Lawyer Near Trenton. Local Hamilton Lawyer for Gun OffenseIt is well known by now that New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the Country. In fact, New Jersey has enacted special legislation in an effort to combat gun violence. The legislation is known as the Graves Act. As you will see below, the act not only requires mandatory state prison sentences but mandatory parole ineligibility terms as well for certain gun offenses. On top of that, New Jersey has recently changed it bail system and as a result more Defendant’s accused of unlawfully possessing a weapon are finding themselves being held in the Mercer County jail without bail, pending trial. Under the new bail reforms, if the prosecution sees fit, they will file for a Detention Hearing. At which point they will attempt to convince the Judge that the Defendant poses such a danger to society that they must be held without bail. Therefore, now more than ever it is important that a Defendant charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, aggravated assault, certain persons or robbery seek the assistance of an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Mercer County gun defense attorney can seek to get you released on a bail pending trial.

Most gun offenses in New Jersey revolve around some form of a search and/or seizure. That is where an experienced gun possession defense lawyer can really make a difference. They can seek to attack the underlying search during what is known as a suppression hearing. If successful, the charges may be outright dismissed. If you have been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. Our attorneys have been representing clients accused of possessing a gun in New Jersey for almost a decade now. If you would like to come into our office and speak with Mr. Oliver one on one then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. These are extremely serious charges and if convicted, they carry with them life changing consequences. So, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us and as always our initial consultations are free of cost.

Gun Charges in Trenton NJ

New Jersey’s gun laws are governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5.This statute is rather complex and covers more than just handguns. It covers all types of weapons including but not limited to handguns, shotguns, bb guns, knives, machine guns and bats. Each section of the statute covers different weapons. Here is a breakdown of each section and what the State must be able to prove in order to obtain a conviction.

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon: Machine Guns: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5a

The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt three material elements, which are as follows:

  • That item in question is in fact a machine gun;
  • That the Defendant knowingly possessed the machine gun; &
  • The Defendant did not possess a valid license to possess the machine gun.

The legislature have defined a machine gun as any firearm that does not require a trigger to be pressed for each shot to be fired.

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon: Handguns: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b

The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt three material elements, which are as follows:

  • That item in question is in fact a handgun;
  • That the Defendant knowingly possessed the handgun; &
  • The Defendant did not have a valid permit possess the said handgun.

The legislature have defined a handgun as “any pistol, revolver or other firearm originally designed or manufactured to fire or eject any solid projectile, ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances by the use of a single hand.” It is important to note here that a bb gun, air gun and spring gun will be considered a handgun and fall under this section.

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon: Rifles and Shotguns: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5c

The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt three material elements, which are as follows:

  • That item in question is in fact a rifle or shotgun;
  • That the Defendant knowingly possessed the rifle or shotgun; &
  • The Defendant did not have a valid firearms purchaser identification card.

The legislature have defined a rifle as “any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.” A shotgun has been defined as “any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shots or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, or any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder which does not fire fixed ammunition.”

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon: Rifles and Shotguns: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d

The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt three material elements, which are as follows:

  • That item in question is in fact a weapon;
  • That the Defendant knowingly possessed the weapon; &
  • The Defendant’s possession of the weapon was under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for a lawful use.

The way in which the legislature has defined what qualifies as a weapon leads to a tremendous amount of litigation. A weapon is “anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury.” So basically anything can be considered a weapon, a bottle, knife, bat, pole, chair etc. As a result, anyone charged under this subsection will usually try to attack the underlying purpose of the possession of the weapon.

What are the Penalties if I am Convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in NJ?

Machine Guns / Handguns (Excluding Air Guns/Spring Guns/BB Guns)

  • These offenses are considered second degree felony offenses and they also fall under the Graves Act. As a result, a Defendant faces anywhere from five to ten years in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine up to $150,000. Since this offense falls under the Graves Act, the Defendant must be sentenced to at least five (5) years in prison with a forty-two (42) month parole ineligibility period.

Shotguns / Rifles

  • These offenses are considered third degree felony offenses and they also fall under the Graves Act. As a result, a Defendant faces anywhere from three to five years in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine up to $15,000. Since this offense falls under the Graves Act, the Defendant must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a forty-two (42) month parole ineligibility period.

“Weapons”

  • This offense is considered a fourth degree felony offenses. As a result, a Defendant faces anywhere up to eighteen months in a New Jersey State Prison and a fine up to $10,000. Unlike all other offenses, this offense does not falls under the Graves Act. Therefore, no parole ineligibility period or mandatory incarceration.

The Graves Act imposes some extreme penalties. With that being said, there are Graves Act waivers that can be filed on a Defendant’s behalf. If granted, the waiver can reduce the Defendant’s parole ineligibility period, allow a Defendant to be sentenced to a term of probation or even possible allow for a Defendant to participate in the Pretrial Intervention Program.  Mr. Oliver from our office has been able to secure this waiver numerous times for his clients. If you would like to discuss your options with Mr. Oliver then please contact us at (NUMBER).

Gun Possession Lawyers in Lawrenceville NJ

Gun charges are extremely serious offenses and require the attention of a skilled criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with burglary, armed robbery, burglary, carjacking, terroristic threats, aggravated assault or unlawful possession of a weapon in Mercer County, we can help. Our office serves all of Mercer County, including towns like HamiltonPrinceton, Trenton, Robbinsville, West Windsor, East Windsor and Ewing.  If you would like to discuss your options with one of our Mercer County criminal defense attorneys then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779.