Many criminal charges carry harsher penalties if the crime is committed with a gun. In some cases, despite Second Amendment rights, possession of a firearm – handgun, shotgun, assault rifle – is illegal under New Jersey law. If you are arrested on weapons or gun charges in Morristown, Rockaway, Parsippany, or a nearby New Jersey township, you need a Morris County weapons charges defense lawyer right away.
Most gun charges in New Jersey fall under what is known as the Graves Act. The Graves Act, in essence, requires any defendant convicted under one of several listed offenses to be sentenced to prison for a specified term without eligibility for parole. In other words, you are guaranteed to do time if convicted.
If you have been charged with a weapons offense in Morris County, N.J., the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Our legal team includes former prosecutors and public defenders who have more than 200 years of combined legal experience. For over 15 years, our firm has been defending individuals charged with various felony weapons charges, such as unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and similar crimes of violence in Morris County.
To set up a free consultation with any one of our Morris County criminal defense attorneys, contact our Morristown office as soon as possible at 973-309-7050.
Common Gun Charges Filed in Morris County, NJ
In many cases, a gun charge is a secondary offense charged along with another allegation, such as burglary or assault with a deadly weapon. The presence of a gun can lead to a more serious charge, such as assault becoming aggravated assault if a deadly weapon is used.
Typical charges you may face in New Jersey simply because you are alleged to have had a gun in your possession include:
- Possession of Prohibited Weapons and Devices. The law makes possession of certain firearms and other weapons and ammunition illegal, except in specified circumstances, including sawed-off shotguns, stun guns, dum-dum or body armor penetrating bullets, silencers and bump stocks. The law also makes it illegal to possess firearms with illegible serial numbers that have been filed down.
- Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes. The law makes it illegal to possess a gun “with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property” of someone else, such as in an assault or robbery, or while committing other crimes.
- Unlawful Possession of Weapons. This law makes it a crime to possess a handgun, rifle, shotgun or assault rifle without the applicable permit or license. The statute also makes it illegal to carry a gun onto school grounds.
- Certain Persons Not Allowed to Have Weapons. This law makes it illegal for people to possess a gun after being convicted of a violent crime, including various levels of assault, sexual assault, domestic violence and child endangerment.
Typically, these offenses can be filed as anything from a second-degree offense to a fourth-degree offense. The difference is significant because the length of jail time and fines associated with the various crimes differs drastically.
- A second-degree offense can lead to a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000.
- A third-degree offense can lead to a period of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years and a fine of up to $15,000.
- A fourth-degree offense can lead to a period of incarceration of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you are charged with a gun-related criminal offense in Morristown, the case is likely to be handled at Morris County Superior Court. It is imperative that you obtain an experienced weapons charge defense lawyer long before your court date to allow your attorney time to investigate the charges and prepare your defense.
Added N.J. Gun Charges Jeopardy Under Graves Act and NERA
In gun and weapons convictions, New Jersey allows the imposition of two mandatory sentencing laws, the Graves Act and the No Early Release Act, or NERA. They are meant to ensure that a convicted defendant serves the sentence handed down by the court.
The Graves Act requires a minimum prison sentence that includes a period with no chance for parole for most gun offenses. Parole ineligibility is to be imposed for one third to one half of the full sentence imposed, or 3 years (5 years on a second or subsequent gun offense), whichever is greater. Those convicted of a fourth-degree offense must serve the full 18-month sentence.
Originally the Graves Act applied only when a person was convicted of possessing or using a firearm while in the course of committing certain crimes, or Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes. Eventually its use was expanded to apply to each of the weapons / gun charges outlined above as well as to a few others.
The NERA statute prohibits eligibility for parole for 85% of the prison term when a defendant is convicted of committing any of several first- and second-degree crimes of violence. It also imposes parole supervision for 5 years for a first-degree crime and 3 years for a second-degree crime.
Among crimes affected by New Jersey’ No Early Release Act, which are typically committed with a gun or other weapon, are:
- Aggravated Manslaughter
- Aggravated Assault
- Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
How Our Attorneys Can Help You Fight Morris County, N.J., Gun Charges
Every defendant charged with a crime has a Constitutional right to a robust legal defense that seeks the best available outcome for him or her. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will protect your rights and work to resolve the gun charges filed against you in a manner that is as beneficial to you as possible. The sooner we can get involved in your case, the better chance we have to fight and rebut the allegations against you.
Contact our Morristown law office at your first opportunity so that:
- A N.J. criminal defense lawyer from our team can immediately arrange your release for the lowest bail available.
- Our team can initiate an independent investigation into the weapons charges against you and argue for disputable evidence to be excluded from the case.
- Our investigators can identify any flaws or police misconduct in the prosecution’s case, which may include: Illegal arrest, Illegal search and seizure, mistaken identity and false witness testimony
- Faulty or fabricated evidence
- Faulty forensic testing (particularly regarding DNA evidence)
- Racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or other bias
- Other police and/or prosecutorial misconduct.
To convict you for a gun possession charge or a more severe version of a crime based on the use of a gun, the state must prove you were in actual possession of the gun that is registered as evidence in your case. It may be possible to file a motion to suppress evidence if police recovered it in violation of constitutional protections, such as during an unreasonable search and seizure, or the prosecution cannot prove its connection to you. Without the recovered gun as evidence, weapons charges will likely be dismissed.
As our investigation progresses, our entire criminal defense team will be committed to preparing a strong and persuasive case on your behalf. Because of our attorneys’ experience in Morris County, we have the relationships necessary to begin fruitful negotiations with prosecutors right away toward having charges dismissed or reduced as part of a plea bargain if the facts in the case make a deal possible.
If a conviction is inevitable, the professional relationships our attorneys enjoy with prosecutors in Morristown courts will help us argue for a minimum sentence or alternatives to jail time. That is not always available in a gun-related offense, but we can negotiate for a first-time offender not charged with a crime of violence to enter New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program or receive a sentence of probation.
Contact Out Experienced Morris County Gun Charges Defense Attorneys
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience defending people like you against criminal charges, including all types of weapons charges. If you or someone you love faces criminal charges in Morris County, New Jersey, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer today for a free consultation about the particulars of your case.
Our N.J. weapons charges defense attorneys are ready to put our knowledge, skills and experience to work to defend you. Remember, an arrest is the beginning of a long process that does not have to end in a guilty verdict. There is reason to be optimistic when you have an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in your corner. Contact our offices now.