New Jersey has very strict weapons laws–while you have a right to carry a weapon in some circumstances, these laws limit the types of weapon you can have and when and how they can be used. A conviction for a weapons offense can take a serious toll on your life. If you are facing criminal charges, you will need an experienced defense attorney to represent you. Contact the skilled attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC to see how we can help with a strong defense for your case.
New Jersey Weapons Laws
It is important to understand the laws governing weapon possession and use in New Jersey. Some weapons are legal under certain circumstances, but if used in the wrong place, at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, it becomes a criminal offense. Some weapons are always illegal, and mere possession of these weapons is a crime.
What is Considered a Weapon in New Jersey?
To be convicted of a weapons offense, you must have or use a weapon. What qualifies as a weapon may seem obvious, but the law is broad and can include items that do not immediately come to mind. Section 39 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice covers weapons offenses and defines a weapon as “anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury.” (N.J.S. 2C:39-1(r))
Under this definition, a weapon can include items such as:
- Switchblades, Knives, daggers
- Billies, Blackjacks, and other clubs
- Metal knuckles
- Tear gas
- Any items that can be assembled into a weapon
This list, however, is not exhaustive and other items can be considered weapons if they can be used to kill or seriously injure another person.
New Jersey Weapons Offenses
There are several different weapons charges a person can face under New Jersey law. A conviction for any one of these offenses can result in severe penalties. Some New Jersey Weapons Offenses include:
- Prohibited Weapons and Devices (J.S. 2C:39-3): In New Jersey, possession of certain weapons is illegal and totally prohibited by the law. If you are found with any of these weapons you can face this criminal charge, even if you did not use the weapon.
Some of these items include:
- Destructive devices
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Defaced firearms
- Firearms without a serial number
- Other weapons (knives, slingshot, studded leather bands, clubs, etc.) without an explainable lawful purpose
- Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes (J.S. 2C:39-4): In New Jersey, it is a crime to possess a weapon for an unlawful purpose. This means that if you have a weapon for the purpose of harming another person or committing a crime, you can face criminal charges, even if you did not actually use the weapon. This law applies to many types of weapons including guns, explosives, even imitation firearms. The key element of this offense is the purpose for which you had the weapon in your possession. If that purpose was to hurt someone or to commit a crime, you can be found guilty of this charge.
- Unlawful Possession of Weapons (J.S. 2C:39-5): Under this section of New Jersey Law, it is a crime to possess certain weapons unless you have a license or legal permit to carry the weapon. This law covers weapons such as handguns, machine guns, rifles, and other firearms. If you are found with one of these weapons without the proper license or permit, you can be convicted of this offense.
- Certain Persons Not To Have Weapons (J.S. 2C:39-7): If you have previously been convicted of certain crimes, you cannot purchase or own certain weapons. This includes crimes like aggravated assault, burglary, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, car jacking, domestic violence, etc. If you are found with a weapon, you can be convicted under this law.
Penalties for New Jersey Weapons Offenses
Each of these New Jersey weapons offenses has serious penalties associated with a conviction. Even first offense penalties can mean years in prison. New Jersey has a degree system for their crimes, with first degree crimes being the most severe and fourth degree crimes less severe. The severity of the punishment varies depending on the degree of the offense and what type of weapon the case is based on.
Many of the prohibited weapons charges are third and fourth degree offenses. The penalties associated with these offenses can range from 18 months to 5 years in prison. The punishment for an unlawful possession of weapons conviction can also mean up to 5 years in prison. A conviction of possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes can be a second, third or fourth degree crime and carry the consequences of up to 10 years in prison, depending on what type of weapon you had. Because the consequences of a weapons offense can vary greatly depending on the facts of your case, it is important to have the assistance of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to help you with your case.
Get the Help of a Skilled New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care about is facing charges for a weapons offense of any kind, you should contact the experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC. A conviction for a weapons offense can instantly change your life, so it is crucial to have a strong defense to get the best possible outcome in your case.
Though it can feel overwhelming to face weapons offense charges, remember there are available defenses including showing you did not possess a weapon, you had a valid license, or did not have the weapon for an unlawful purpose. At Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC our attorneys understand the implications of weapons offenses and know the defenses available with any of these charges. You can contact us at any time, day or night, by calling or texting (201) 792-3333 for help. We can discuss the details of your case during a free case consultation and how we can help you defend against your charges and navigate the criminal justice system.