Short Hills Gun Lawyer
The State of New Jersey considers offenses involving illegal possession of firearms very serious. Consequently, there are a number of statutes that govern weapons-related offenses, all of which are classified as serious criminal offenses in New Jersey.
Hiring an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney is the first step you should take if you are charged with a weapons offense. Our team at Williams Law Group will carefully examine the details of your case and will discuss which strategy is the strongest for your defense. Given the serious consequences and potential for a lengthy sentence of incarceration, it is of paramount importance that you speak with a Short Hills gun lawyer as soon as you’ve been charged.
Possession of a Firearm for Unlawful Purposes
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, which governs Unlawful Possession of Weapons, there are various offense levels by which an individual may be charged. These offenses range from second to fourth degree offenses under this statute, all of which are indictable charges and therefore heard in the Superior Court of the applicable county.
N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 lists the following classifications for Unlawful Possession of Weapons:
- 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.2C:58-5, is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
- (1) 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.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
- (2) 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 it is a crime of the third degree.
- 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.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.
- 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.
Each of these offenses carry serious and potentially lifelong consequences, including incarceration, probation, and monetary fines. If charged with a second-degree offense, there is a presumption of incarceration upon conviction and a potential prison sentence of five to ten years. This is especially significant to note because the presumption of incarceration applies even if this arrest is your first offense. The judge may also impose a hefty monetary fine upon conviction of a second-degree offense, with a maximum potential of $150,000.
Though there is no presumption of incarceration for third and fourth-degree offenses, convictions of these degree nonetheless expose you to prison time. A third-degree offense carries a maximum potential prison sentence of five years, and a fourth-degree offense carries a maximum potential prison sentence of 18 months. Just as with a second-degree offense, a judge has the discretion to impose monetary fines for these convictions as well.
Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons In New Jersey
If you have a prior conviction for certain offenses, then you may be prohibited from owning or possessing weapons. If you fall within one of the restricted categories, under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, you can be additionally charged as a “Certain Person Not to Possess Weapons” if found in possession of a weapon. The degree of charge under this statute will depend on the type of weapon involved, as well as the base offense that qualified you as a “certain person.” For example, this offense can be charged as a third-degree offense if the original restriction of possessing a firearm is based on the issuance of a restraining order. On the other hand, it may be charged as a fourth-degree offense if the original restriction was based on a disorderly person’s offense for domestic violence. A hardworking lawyer in Short Hills could evaluate a person’s gun crime charges and fight to get them a favorable case outcome.
The Graves Act
One of the most serious considerations to discuss with your attorney is your exposure of a sentence that falls within the Graves Act and your potential for a Graves Act Waiver. The Graves Act is a law that requires imposition of a mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction of crimes that fall within its scope, including certain firearms offenses.
An experienced attorney in Short Hills can negotiate with the prosecutor for a Graves Act Waiver following a firearm charge. If granted, a waiver could permit the imposition of a lesser sentence, or even a non-custodial sentence.
Schedule a Meeting With a Gun Attorney in Short Hills Today
New Jersey has stringent weapons laws and prosecutes offenses harshly. An experienced attorney with Williams Law Group will guide you through the criminal court process and will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Call a Short Hills gun lawyer for a consultation.