New Jersey Weapons Offense Lawyers

New Jersey’s weapon laws are notoriously complex. Violating these laws can result in incarceration, mandatory forfeiture of your firearms, the loss of your Second Amendment right to bear arms, significant monetary penalties, a criminal record, and in some instances, the loss of one’s job. Merely possessing certain weapons (such as a stun gun) may result in a felony conviction, even if you only possess it for self defense. If you have been charged with a weapons-related offense, you need an experienced New Jersey gun lawyer who will defend your Second Amendment rights.

 

Common Weapons Offenses in New Jersey

Often, individuals are charged with weapons offenses because they failed to go through the proper channels to acquire a permit or license. We have a successful track record of handling all types of weapon charges, including:

  • Unlawful possession of a weapon (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5): Individuals cannot knowingly possess machine guns, handguns, rifles or assault rifles (automatic weapons) without first having obtained the appropriate license or permit. Individuals also cannot possess “other weapons” for inappropriate use. Any individual who knowingly possesses firearms in an educational institution without written authorization of the school’s governing officer is guilty of a third degree crime, even if they have a valid permit to carry the weapon. Possession of “other weapons” and imitation firearms in schools is also prohibited by law.
  • Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1): In order for a person to be convicted of this offense, the government must prove that they possessed a weapon, for the purpose of using it unlawfully against a person or property. An example of this crime would be the use of a knife to commit theft. A conviction for this crime can result in a minimum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Possession by convicted felon or other person ineligible to possess a weapon (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7): If an individual has been convicted of a felony, possession of a firearm is a second degree crime punishable by between five and ten years in prison. Individuals who have been committed to a mental institution and individuals with a prior domestic violence conviction are also ineligible to carry weapons.
  • Possession of a defaced firearm (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(d)): It is unlawful to possess a firearm that has had its serial number, manufacturer’s name or model number either removed, covered, altered or destroyed.
  • Possession of a stun gun (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(h)): Possession of a stun gun is a fourth degree crime in New Jersey. If convicted you can face up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Possession of prohibited ammunition: It is unlawful to possess hollow point, hollow nose, dum-dum, or armor piercing bullets in New Jersey unless you are a law enforcement officer authorized to use this ammunition. You can be convicted of a fourth degree crime and face up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for possessing prohibited ammunition—even if you don’t own a gun.

 

What Is A Weapon Under New Jersey Law?

The term “weapon” is broadly defined in New Jersey, and includes any object capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1 gives a non-exhaustive list, including:

  • Components that can be assembled into a weapon
  • Gravity knives
  • Switchblade knives
  • Daggers
  • Dirks
  • Stilettos
  • Billies
  • Blackjacks
  • Bludgeons
  • Brass knuckles
  • Sandclubs
  • Slingshots
  • Cesti or similar leather bands studded with metal filings
  • Razor blades imbedded in wood
  • Stun guns

As this statute makes clear, almost anything can be considered a weapon in New Jersey. Law enforcement will look to the intent of the person possessing the item. Your intent can also be ascertained from your surroundings. For example, if you are carrying a baseball bat on the way to a baseball field, you are unlikely to be arrested for possession of a weapon. But, if you are carrying that same baseball bat late at night in a bar parking lot, law enforcement are more likely to consider the bat a weapon.

 

Penalties For Weapons Offenses

New Jersey has some of the harshest penalties for weapons offenses in the United States. Legislation such as the Graves Act and the No Early Release Act subject individuals convicted of weapons offenses to mandatory minimum prison sentences. If a person is charged with possessing a weapon in conjunction with an act of violence they will be ineligible for parole until they have served their minimum prison term. Many weapon offenses carry a five year minimum sentence. A minimum sentence of five years carries a three year minimum term of imprisonment.

If you are charged with an underlying crime, being in possession of a firearm during the commission of that offense will result in a more serious sentence—even if you did not intend to harm anyone with the weapon.

Weapon charges bring other serious consequences, such as having your gun collection permanently confiscated, or loss of your job if carrying a weapon is necessary to fulfilling your duties (for example if you are a security guard, police officer or armored truck driver).

 

Defenses to Weapons Charges

We will investigate how law enforcement acquired your weapon, and whether their search was legal. We can file a motion to suppress the evidence if your constitutional rights were violated. In New Jersey, law enforcement can conduct a search with probable cause, or if you give valid consent to the search.

There are many exemptions to the complex laws restricting an individual’s ability to carry a weapon. For example, N.J.S.A. 39-6(e) authorizes individuals to possess “other weapons” (as statutorily defined) in their home or place of business. Also, unloaded weapons may be transported in the trunk of one’s car under certain circumstances. However, the law is nuanced. These exemptions do not apply to convicted felons or individuals charged with possession for an unlawful purpose.

 

Monmouth County Gun Lawyers Defend Individuals Accused of Weapons-Related Offenses

At Shebell & Shebell, we always strive to get your charges dismissed or downgraded. We consider all options and work closely with our clients to achieve a positive outcome. We represent individuals charged with gun crimes and weapons offenses throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Keansburg, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.

 

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Tom Shebell has represented me and my family members in several cases. Tom is the most prepared lawyer I have ever seen, and demands respect in and outside of the court room. His staff is amazing and never makes you feel as if you are bothering them. I always feel that I am his most important client, and he always takes my call. If he is busy, I am reassured that he will get right back to me and he does. His knowledge of the law and research on your case is impecable, and will never give up until he gets the results that he feels are the best for you. Although he is the most professional attorney I have ever worked with, he refers you call him Tom (not Mr. Shebell), and I am most comfortable calling him Tommy. His cell phone is on his answering service, to comfort you and assuring you that you can reach him if necessary, no matter what. I will never retain another lawyer, unless it is a case that he cannot handle. That has never happened to me. Unfortunately, Tommy is handling a very emotional case for my family, and whenever we discuss it our meet together he is very comforting to us. For a family man, and extremely busy attorney to handle matters like this, it truly takes a special type of person, and extraordiinary human being. If anyone take my advise, Tom Shebell, III is the only attorney that should be called first, and believe me you will not make another call. As I said in my title, he is my true "hero"!
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