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Unlawful Possession of Weapons
New Brunswick NJ Illegal Handgun Defense Lawyers
Stiff penalties are imposed at the Superior Court in New Brunswick for those convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon. The consequences almost certainly include a term of imprisonment if you plead or are found guilty of this offense. This is a key reason why you should consider contacting The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. We definitely can help if you or a loved one has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose or any other weapon offense in Middlesex County. Our staff of seasoned defense lawyers and former prosecutors includes Jason Seidman, Esq., who served as supervisor of the gangs, guns and drugs task force at the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. Jason or another lawyer on our team is capable of providing effective representation in the defense of your firearm or other weapon violation. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers have over one hundred combined years of experience and represent clients throughout New Jersey, including in municipalities such as Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, and New Brunswick. Contact us anytime 24/7 at our New Brunswick Office across from the courthouse by calling 732-246-2176. Initial consultations are free of charge.
Unlawful Possession of Weapons Charge in East Brunswick or Another Middlesex County Municipality
It is important to keep in mind that while N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 (“Unlawful possession of weapons”) outlines a broad range of handgun, firearm and other weapons charges, they are all indictable crimes which fall under the jurisdiction of the Middlesex County Superior Court. So irrespective of whether your arrest occurred in East Brunswick or elsewhere, the only place where your case can be resolved is at the County level in New Brunswick. Your guilt or innocence will hinge on how your conduct fits or doesn’t fit within the language of the violation contained in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. This statute provides that:
§ 2C:39-5. Unlawful possession of weapons
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 as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:58-5, 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 as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4, 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 in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3, 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 pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:58-5; registered pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1990, c.32; or rendered inoperable pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1990, c.32.
Explanation of the Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Law. Weapons are divided into categories under this law with varying penalties that apply when someone possesses them unlawfully. The following is a breakdown of what you need to know concerning each type of weapon.
Machine Guns & Assault Rifles. The first and fourth category of weapons are machine guns and assault rifles. These weapons cannot be possessed unless the holder has secured a special machine gun and assault weapon license in accordance with 2C:58-5. It is almost impossible to secure such a license in New Jersey so you almost certainly are facing a second degree crime if you possess a machine gun or assault rifle anywhere in Middlesex County or New Jersey. You will face a prison term of 5-10 years and a $150,000 fine if you are convicted of possession of either of these weapons.
Handguns. The largest block of unlawful possession of a weapon charges involve handguns. Possession of a handgun without a valid carry permit is a second degree crime. You are not required, however, to possess a carry permit if you hold a handgun permit and are transporting the weapon consistent with the law (e.g. unloaded, secured in separate compartment, etc.). The degree of offense is reduced to a third degree crime if the handgun is akin to a BB, Pellet or similar air/spring driven weapon. Second degree possession of an illegal handgun carries 5-10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000. In addition, those convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun are ineligible for participation in the Intensive Supervision Program. Third degree possession of a BB, Pellet or Airsoft gun results in a potential prison term of five years, up to a $15,000 fine, and there is no exclusion from ISP.
Rifles & Shotguns. An individual cannot possess either a rifle or shotgun without having a valid firearms purchasers ID card. If you are found in possession without this documentation, you face a third degree crime, up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Other Weapons. It is a fourth degree crime to possess any other form of “weapon” under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful use. The term weapon is defined as anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury under this section. Possessing a weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate should be distinguished from possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. This offense targets those who have yet to form an intent to use the object as a weapon. Fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon triggers penalties that include up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Juveniles. When a defendant is under 18 years old and considered a juvenile, the prosecutor is given discretion as to whether unlawful possession of a handgun or other weapon is prosecuted under this section or under the less severe penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:58–6.1b.
Graves Act. The parole ineligibility and mandatory minimum term requirements imposed under the Graves Act automatically apply whenever the weapon unlawfully possessed is a handgun, machine gun or assault rifle. It should be pointed out that this Act also applies when certain violent crimes are committed while in possession of or using a firearm. The minimum term for any crime of the first, second or third degree is to be set at the greater of between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed or three years. For a fourth degree crime the mandatory sentence is eighteen months. During this minimum time period the defendant is not eligible for parole, hence, its being referred to as the parole ineligibility period.
Organized Criminal Activity. If the court finds that possession of a handgun, machine gun or assault rifle involves organized criminal activity, subsection (i) of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 requires that the court impose a mandatory minimum term of incarceration of five years during which the defendant is ineligible for parole.
Middlesex County Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Attorney
Failure to successfully defend a charge for unlawful possession can clearly result in extreme ramifications including years of incarceration. This should give you ample motivation to secure representation from the best attorney you can find. We believe that the Middlesex County Defense Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the qualifications you need to protect yourself against a conviction and/or the mandatory penalties that apply for having an illegal handgun or other weapon in your possession. Attorneys are available immediately to assist you by contacting us at 732-246-7126.
Other Helpful Weapon Resource Pages