Gun Possession Lawyers in Hackensack NJ
It is well known that New Jersey has probably the toughest gun laws in the Country. In fact, a recent study proved that New Jersey has the second strictest gun laws in the United States. Often times people feel that since their weapons were legal in their home state that they may transfer them throughout New Jersey legally. That cannot be any further from the truth. This typically happens, when a person from another state, such as Pennsylvania, has a valid permit there but travels to New Jersey, where they do not have a permit, and gets pulled over by the police. The New Jersey Legislature has declared that it is irrelevant that your weapons may be legal in your home state. If they are physically in New Jersey than they must be possessed in accordance with New Jersey laws. In addition to facing this charge, a defendant can also be charged with a possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose as well. The governing statute in New Jersey for unlawful possession of a weapon is N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has over 200 years of combined experience on staff. If you or a loved one has been charged in Bergen County, in towns like Mahwah, Edgewater, Teaneck, Rutherford, Bergenfield, Lodi, Saddle Brook, Englewood or River Edge with the unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, aggravated assault or robbery we can help. Below is some important information with regards to the unlawful possession of a weapon charges.
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Lawyers in Elmwood Park NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5
Material Elements: No matter what the nature of the weapon is; whether it be a machine gun, handgun, rifle and/or shotgun, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt four material elements. Specifically, that the “weapon” in question was either a machine gun, handgun, rifle or shotgun; that the defendant actually or constructively possessed the said weapon; that the defendant knew that the alleged “weapon” was a machine gun, handgun, rifle or shotgun and lastly, that the defendant lacked the requisite license, identification card or permit to possess the said weapon.
Applicable Degrees / Penalties:
- Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun: This is a crime of the Second Degree. This offense falls under what is known as the Graves Act, which requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility if convicted. The parole ineligibility will be set at five years, if the sentencing Judge determines that the defendant was involved in organized criminal activity.
- Unlawful Possession of a Handgun: This is typically a crime of the Second Degree. However, if there are multiple handguns that are found without a permit, it can be charged as a first degree crime. This is codified under 2C:39-5b(1). It can also be charged as a first degree crime if the defendant has a prior criminal conviction that falls under the No Early Release Act (NERA). This is codified under 2C:39-5j. If the “handgun” in questions is of the nature of an “air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air, or is ignited by compressed air and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than an inch in diameter, the crime is of the Third Degree.” This offense also falls under the Graves Act and requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility. Further, a defendant convicted of second degree possession of a handgun will be ineligible for participation in intensive supervision program (“ISP”).
- Unlawful Possession of a Rifle or Shotgun: This is a crime of the Third Degree. The requisite license required for the possession of a rifle and/or shotgun is what is known as a firearms purchaser identification card and this must be possessed at the time of the incident in question.
Some important side notes, the actual possession of two or more handguns without a valid permit at the same time and place will still only be considered as one offense. However if the defendant has “constructive” possession of one gun and “actual” possession of another, the prosecution may charge the defendant with two separate offenses. Further, a defendant may not be charged with unlawful possession of a handgun if it is determined that at the time of the seizure the handgun was incapable of firing a projectile (bullet).
Potential Self Defense Argument:
A self defense argument may be raised by the defendant if they are charged with possession of a weapon without a permit if the defendant can prove that he/she armed themselves spontaneously to meet an immediate danger. This defense will be invalid when it is proven that the defendant armed themselves prior to the danger becoming imminent.
Demarest NJ Handgun Possession Defense Lawyers
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has seven criminal defense attorneys on staff, including eight former prosecutors. One of our attorneys during his time as an Assistant County Prosecutor was the head of the Drug, Gangs, and Gun task force. We have been defending individuals charged with unlawful possession of a weapon throughout Bergen County, in towns like Ramsey, Fair Lawn Carlsdat, Emerson, Cliffside Park for over fifteen years. If you have any further questions regarding New Jersey weapons laws, please contact any one of our Bergen County offices for a free initial consultation about your pending charges at 201-201-0086.