Certain Person in Possession of a Firearm or Weapon
The right to own and carry guns, firearms and weapons (keep and bear arms) is clearly guaranteed by the United States Constitution. However, there are laws that regulate when, how, and who can possess weapons, including rifles and handguns. Under New Jersey law, certain people are prohibited from purchasing, owning, or possessing a weapon (i.e. deemed "certain person"). In some circumstances individuals are not even aware that they prohibited from ownership or possession of a weapon. This can be a serious oversight as a violation of the certain person law of New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, can expose an individual to up to 10 years in jail. If you find yourself in such a circumstance, the lawyers on our staff can assist you. Our defense firm, the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, possesses experienced weapon attorneys who will defend you through each stage of the proceedings and help you overcome these charges so you can put this situation behind you. We appear on behalf of our clients throughout NJ including Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Camden County, Morris County, Mercer County, Passaic County, and Somerset County. Call us anytime for a free initial consultation with a lawyer that has been defending these charges for many years.
NJ Certain Persons Law
In New Jersey, most convicted felons, individuals found guilty of a Domestic Violence, and those who suffer from mental illness, are not allowed to own weapons and firearms. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7a, it is a fourth degree offense to purchase, own, or possess a weapon listed in § 2C:39-4 if you have been convicted of Aggravated Assault, Arson, Burglary, Escape, Extortion, Homicide, Kidnapping, Robbery, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault, Bias Intimidation, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a past weapons charge, or an indictable crime of possession, unlawful use, or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. It is also a fourth degree crime to purchase, own or possess a weapon if you have been declared mentally ill or have been previously committed in the past. A fourth degree offense is a felony crime and a conviction brings up to 18 months of incarceration. The offense is heightened to a second degree crime under subsection (b) of the law if the individual purchases, possesses, owns a firearm. This crime also encompasses individuals convicted of Stalking, a crime involving Domestic Violence, Running a Drug Distribution Scheme, or Distributing Drugs in a School Zone. A firearm offense involving a certain person triggers jail exposure of up to 10 years. The individual will also be sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility of 5 years. He must serve this period before he is even eligible for parole following conviction under 2C:39-7. Furthermore, an individual man be sentenced to an extended term of imprisonment depending on his prior record. Lastly, any person who has been convicted of a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence who purchases, owns, possesses or controls a firearm is guilty of a crime of the third degree. A third degree certain persons charge carries up to 5 years in jail.
Elements of a Certain Person Offense Under New Jersey Law
There are elements of the prosecutor's case that must be established in order to obtain conviction. In this regard, it must be established, beyond reasonable doubt, that:
- The item in question is a "weapon" (or firearm if subsection b offense);
- Defendant knowingly purchased, owned, possessed or controlled the weapon; and
- Defendant was previously convicted of a predicate offense (or previously committed for a mental disorder).
The definition of weapon under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1 includes any object capable of inflicting serious bodily injury. It is not necessary that the item have a purpose to injure, and can have innocent purposes under normal circumstance. The test to be applied to determine its status as a weapon is the attendant circumstances at the time of the offense, including the size, shape, condition, concealment and actions of the accused. Knowledge is also a fundamental element of a certain persons charge. The person charged must be aware of the existence of the weapon or circumstances manifesting a high probability of its existence. Possession can be actual or constructive. An individual constructively possesses a weapon where he knows of its character and intends to control it.
Experienced Attorneys in Defending Weapons Charges
The New Jersey weapons law is complex and you can easily get confused on what is legal and what is not. At the Law Offices of John F. Marshall we want to hear about your case and when it’s time for your day in court, our attorneys will help you get the results you want. Our lawyers regularly appear in court throughout NJ and aggressively defend clients facing rifle, gun, and other weapons charges. A lawyer on our team will make sure that you are given every opportunity for success, including downgrading and/or dismissing your charge. An attorney would be happy to assist you in defending your Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Essex County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Hudson County, or Morris County case. Call us toll free at 1-877-450-8301 to speak to an attorney immediately.