Somerset and Hunterdon County Criminal Defense Attorneys
Charges for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose can originate in a variety of circumstances, and are often accompanied by other criminal charges for offenses ranging from robbery to terroristic threats. Nevertheless, the predominant elements of these crimes include: the presence of an item that is “capable of lethal use or inflicting serious bodily injury,” and the intention to use said article to commit another crime against a person or property. Due to the breath of items which may constitute “weapons” under New Jersey law (see below), charges for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose are strikingly common, spelling severe consequences for those who are ultimately found guilty. Depending on the specific weapon associated with the allegation, a conviction may lead to a prison term ranging from 18 months to 10 years. Fortunately, an attorney who is well-versed in this area can identify weaknesses in the State’s case, preventing their ability to prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is a composed of a group of legal professionals who are dedicated solely to the practice of criminal defense. Our skilled team of former municipal and county prosecutors and award-winning defense attorneys has successfully defended countless clients charged with gun and other weapons crimes in court rooms across New Jersey. Members of our firm have cultivated a reputation for excellence, achieving recognition among the Top 100 Criminal Attorneys, Top 40 Attorneys Under 40 in New Jersey, and Best Attorneys in America. However, our greatest source of pride is the thousands of satisfied clients who credit us with helping them navigate through extremely tumultuous times. If you or someone you love has been charged with a weapons offense in New Jersey, simply contact our offices at 908-722-1011 for a free consultation. One of our attorneys is standing by to assist you.
Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4
Violations that fall within the realm of “Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose” are detailed in section N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which distinguishes among specific weapons and delineates the varying degree of these charges. The statute addresses each of the following weapons by category:
- Firearms: Any person who has in his possession any firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
- Community Guns: Any person who possesses, receives or transfers a community gun is guilty of a crime of the second degree and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or three years, whichever is greater and during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
- Explosives and Destructive Devices: Any person who has in his possession or carries any explosive substance or destructive device with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
- Other Prohibited Weapons: Any person who has in his possession any weapon, except a firearm, with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
- Imitation Firearm: Any person who has in his possession an imitation firearm under circumstances that would lead an observer to reasonably believe that it is possessed for an unlawful purpose is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
Weapons Definitions in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, a weapon can be considered any item that is capable of inflicting bodily injury or causing physical harm. These may include: defaced firearms, stun guns, gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, billies, blackjacks, metal knuckles, sand clubs, slingshots, ballistic knives, hollow-point bullets, leather bands studded with metal filings, or razor blades embedded in wood.
The term “community gun” refers to a firearm that is transferred among, between or within any association of two or more persons who, while possessing that firearm, engage in criminal activity or use it unlawfully against the person or property of another. Often, this is used in cases involving organized crime or gang organizations.
Penalties for Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in New Jersey
The repercussions of a conviction for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose are dictated primarily by the specific weapon associated with the offense. These penalties are delineated as follows:
- Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose: punishable by a period of between 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
- Possession of a Community Gun for an Unlawful Purpose: punishable by a period of between 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
- Possession of Explosives and Destructive Devices for Unlawful Purposes: punishable by a period of between 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
- Possession of Other Weapons for Unlawful Purposes: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison
- Possession of an Imitation Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose: punishable by a maximum sentence of 18 months to be served in New Jersey State Prison
New Jersey’s Graves Act and Mandatory Minimums
New Jersey’s Graves Act, found in section N.J.S.A. 43-6(c) of the New Jersey Criminal Code, requires the imposition of a minimum term of imprisonment and parole ineligibility for certain firearm-related offenses. The mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility must be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of a sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater. These requirements apply in cases involving possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.
Contact our North Plainfield NJ Weapons Charges Attorneys Today
With the burden of a weapons charge on your shoulders, it is understandable to feel confused and overwhelmed. However, enlisting the right defense representation can ensure that you are thoroughly protected and advocated for throughout the adjudication process. With over 100 years of combined experience on both sides of the New Jersey Justice System, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall work tirelessly to position our clients for the best chance of success. To discuss your pending criminal charges, contact our offices today at 908 722-1011.