Elizabeth NJ Gun Lawyer
New Jersey has historically had some of extensive weapon and firearm laws in the country and prosecutors pride themselves on aggressively prosecuting defendants charged with weapon offenses. If you have been arrested and charged with possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes, unlawful possession of a weapon or any other gun or weapons offenses in Union County New Jersey, you could be subjected to mandatory prison time, probation, and criminal record consequences if convicted. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can challenge the elements of the state’s case against you and work with the prosecution to secure a downgraded plea. At Proetta & Oliver, our attorneys have successfully handled thousands of criminal charges including various gun and weapon crimes throughout Union County and New Jersey. We typically represent clients arrested or accused of any of the following charges:
- Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
- Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes
- BB Guns / Airsoft / Paintball Guns
- Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons
- Imitation Firearms
- Prohibited Weapons
- New Jersey Weapon Definitions
New Jersey Guns and Weapons Laws
While the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does protect your right to bear arms, it is important for you to understand that this right has certain conditions and limitations. In New Jersey, there are actually very strict regulations on firearms ownership. If you are found to be unlawfully possessing a handgun or other firearm in the state of New Jersey, you will be charged with a felony-level offense and face significant time in prison. It won’t matter that you didn’t hurt anyone, or even that you had a valid gun permit or license from another state. A conviction on gun crime charges, or on charges for any other crime involving a gun, in New Jersey will likely result in a mandatory prison sentence.
As mentioned above, New Jersey has some of the harshest gun and weapon laws in the United States, which includes legislation such as the Graves Act that makes certain crimes involving firearms subject to minimum mandatory prison sentences coupled and the No Early Release Act (NERA), which makes violent crimes involving a weapon, such as Robbery subject to periods of parole ineligibility.
New Jersey also has ammunition possession laws. You cannot own particularly menacing and lethal bullets, like hollow-nose or dum-dum bullets created to do maximal damage to a body, unless you have a license to collect ammunition. Otherwise, you may be guilty of a fourth degree crime and spend a maximum of 18 months incarcerated. Owning or possessing a silencer is also a fourth degree crime.
Our defense firm has extensive experience handling firearm and weapon charges and can work the prosecutor and challenge the state on evidentiary issues to identify and pursue opportunities for an acquittal, dismissal or reduction of your weapon charges.
Weapons Charges Happen for Many Reasons in Union County NJ
One of the most common scenarios that can give rise to a weapons offense charge in New Jersey is being found in possession of a handgun while driving. For instance, you might have a lawful permit to own a handgun and still unknowingly commit a crime by removing the weapon from your home. The moment you take that firearm outside of your residence, you are technically in violation of the law because you do not have a lawful carry permit.
Another common scenario that often results in an arrest and charge for a weapons offense in New Jersey is when someone travels to NJ from another state. For example, you might have driven into New Jersey from a neighboring state such as New York or Pennsylvania. Perhaps you were taking a quick trip for work, or maybe you were traveling with your family. Unfortunately, you forgot that your handgun was still inside the vehicle glove compartment – and now you are facing the possibility of 10 years in prison. The moment you drove across state lines with a handgun, you were technically violating NJ gun laws because you did not have a New Jersey-issued handgun carry permit. It won’t matter to the arresting officer that you have a valid ownership and carry permit from your own home state because the officer is only concerned about enforcing NJ laws.
Although not quite as common as other weapons offense charges, one very serious criminal charge that you should be aware of is aggravated assault stemming from a weapons offense. It is possible for you to be charged with aggravated assault even if you do not fire your handgun or injure another person; all that is required is for the prosecution to prove that you pointed your weapon at someone else. If that happens, not only will you probably face multiple weapons offense charges but you will also face violent crime charges for aggravated assault.
Penalties for New Jersey Guns & Weapons Offenses
New Jersey has some of the toughest gun sentencing laws in the country. A conviction on weapons offense charges in NJ often carries severe penalties that include mandatory minimum terms of incarceration in prison. The exact penalties are determined by the nature of the gun offense and the degree of the charges:
- Second degree weapons offense: 5-10 years in prison
- Third degree weapons offense: 3-5 years in prison
- Fourth degree weapons offense: up to 18 months in prison
Keep in mind that these penalties can be enhanced if you are convicted of other crimes in connection with weapons charges. Moreover, it is quite common for NJ prosecutors to overcharge weapons offenses so that the defendant is subject to a lengthy prison sentence because the prison sentences can be run consecutively: you will have to finish serving one sentence before then starting the second sentence. In addition to being incarcerated, you could be subject to other penalties if you are convicted of a weapons offense in New Jersey. For example, anyone convicted of a felony gun crime in NJ is ineligible to own a firearm in the future. Additionally, having a gun crime conviction on your permanent record could make it extremely difficult for you to get a job or secure a home loan in the future – even long after you’ve completed your sentence.
Union Twp Weapon Possession Attorneys · (908) 838-0150
It goes without saying that a firearm or weapon offense is very serious and exposes you to a permanent criminal record and prison. These cases are often very complicated and require the litigation skills of an experienced criminal attorney. At Proetta & Oliver we know how the system works and how to successfully defend our clients against weapon charges. If you have been charged with a firearms offense or any other weapons offense in Union County, do not hesitate to contact us 24/7 at (908) 838-0150 or by e-mail for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can explain your right and address your concerns.