Bergen County Possession of Weapon for Unlawful Purpose Lawyers

Possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes is a very serious offense, one that carries devastating consequences if convicted. The governing statute in New Jersey for possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes is N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4.  There are countless items that can qualify as a “weapon” under this statute. The most common “weapons” are firearms, knives, bats, pipes, brace knuckles and bottles. In actuality anything that can be considered capable of being used for lethal purposes or of inflicting serious bodily injury will be considered a “weapon” under this statute. As you will see below, the difficult aspect of the statute for the prosecution to prove will what qualifies as “unlawful purposes”.  We have been defending individuals charged with possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, unlawful possession of a weapon, terroristic threatsaggravated assault or robbery throughout Bergen County, including towns like Englewood, Elmwood Park, Teaneck, Ramsey, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Rutherford and Paramus for over fifteen years. There is some important information with regards to a charge of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 set forth below. However, our law firm, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has the following credentials, knowledge, man-power, and experience:

  • Over two-hundred (200) years of combined experience
  • A team of ten (10) criminal defense attorneys that devote their practice to criminal law
  • Our firm has seven (7) former prosecutors
    • Three (3) of our attorneys were former assistant county prosecutors and held directorial positions of the Gun, Gang, and Drug Task Force, Major Crimes Division, Trial Division, and Juvenile Division
    • Three (3) of our attorneys were former municipal prosecutors in over twenty-five (25) towns
  • Two (2) of our lawyers were selected to Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for New Jersey which is a highly credentialed, peer-influenced, third-party validated, and a patented process that selects only 2.5% of the attorneys in New Jersey to this list
  • One (1) of our attorneys is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney, a distinction held by less than 1% of attorneys in this State
  • Selected to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 and Top 40 Under 40

Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes Lawyers Hackensack NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4

Material Elements: The prosecution must prove four material elements beyond a reasonable doubt before a defendant can be convicted of  possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Specifically, the prosecution must prove:

  1. that the item in question was a firearm or other weapon or an explosive or a destructive device;
  2. that the defendant actually possessed the item, whether it be actual or constructive;
  3. that the defendant had a purpose to use it against the victim or the victims property and lastly,
  4. that it was going to be used for an unlawful purpose

Types of Possession: The phrase “actual possession” referred to above means that the defendant had “direct physical control” over the the said item. In contrast, “constructive possession” means that although the defendant did not physically control the item, they were aware of the items presence and were able to exercise control over it and actual had a purpose to exercise said control.

Degree of the Offense & Applicable Penalties:

The possession of either a firearm, explosive or destructive device for unlawful purposes is a crime of the Second Degree. A second degree crime carries a presumption of  incarceration and if convicted, a defendant can face up to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison. This crime also falls under the Graves Act, which implicates a mandatory term of parole ineligibility. Parole ineligibility means that the defendant will have to serve a certain amount of time in New Jersey state prison before they are eligible to be released on parole. For example, hypothetically speaking, if a defendant receives a three year prison sentence (a three flat), then he or she will usually be eligible for parole after nine months. However, if he or she receives a three year sentence with two years of parole ineligibility, then they will have to serve two full years in state prison before they are eligible for parole.

The possession of a weapon other than a firearm for unlawful purposes is a crime of the Third Degree. Contrary to a second degree crime, a third degree crime carries a presumption of non-incarceration. However, this presumption may be overcome, and if convicted, a defendant may face up to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison.

Hackensack NJ Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose Defense Lawyers

The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has over 200 years of combined experience on staff, including over twenty-five years of combined prosecuting experience.  As you can see from above, the possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes can have lifelong consequences for not only you but your loved ones as well. If you or someone you know has been charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately about your options. If you have any further questions please contact any one of our Bergen County offices for a free initial consultation about your pending charges at 1-800-682-4037.