Contact Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Firm To Speak To A Former Gun Task Force Director Or Another Highly Skilled Ex Prosecutor On Our Team
New Jersey has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation. N.J. law limits the lawful possession of guns, especially handguns, to narrow circumstances. No New Jersey resident under the age of 21 is allowed to purchase, possess or use a handgun unless the individual’s job requires having a handgun. You are not allowed to buy a gun if you have been convicted of a crime such as robbery, burglary, domestic violence or aggravated assault or a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence. There are also instances where a particular type of weapon or component is outlawed altogether such as certain types of bullets, magazines and assault weapons.
The complexity of New Jersey firearms laws and harshness of gun penalties in NJ make it a mistake to attempt to resolve a gun charge on your own without the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. Many firearm charges, upon conviction, carry the risk of incarceration, and virtually all handgun violations now carry mandatory jail time in the event of a conviction. If you have been arrested on gun charges in New Jersey, a call to the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall should be your first call. Our credentials are truly unique and impressive, including:
- Ten accomplished defense lawyers that handle criminal charges exclusively
- More than 200 years of combined experience representing clients charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and other gun offenses throughout New Jersey
- Certified criminal trial attorneys, a designation by the N.J. Supreme Court of select attorneys that have specialized knowledge and training in an area of law
- Attorneys who previously worked as county and municipal prosecutors and served as Director of the Guns Task Force, Major Crimes Bureau, Juvenile Unit, and an entire Trial Division where they gained significant knowledge in firearm charges. They use that knowledge now to defend clients facing gun charges
- Availability 24/7 to respond to your legal needs.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a gun violation, including illegal possession of a handgun, our seasoned attorneys have the knowledge and resources to provide trusted legal representation. Give us a call to discuss your case at (877) 450-8301 or contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.
Understanding the Basics of NJ Gun Charges
There are many different laws that can result in a criminal charge for illegal gun possession in New Jersey. This section offers general information about the variety of gun charges and also provides a link to obtain additional information on a particular offense.
- Certain Person Not to Possess a Firearm. When an individual is convicted of an indictable crime of the fourth degree, third degree, second degree, or first degree, the person can lose the right to possess a firearm. An individual is strictly prohibited from possessing a handgun or any other firearm when this is the case. An individual may also become a certain person who cannot be in possession of a gun if convicted of an offense involving domestic violence or having been committed to a mental hospital or institution.
- Possession of a Gun During CDS Activities. An individual will face enhanced criminal penalties in New Jersey if convicted of possession of an illegal gun while distributing a controlled dangerous substance such as cocaine or heroin or more than 50 grams of marijuana or possessing a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute.
- Illegal Possession of a Rifle or Shotgun. Long guns are highly regulated in NJ just like pistols and revolvers. Possessing a rifle or shotgun in violation of possession laws carries serious penalties.
- Unlawful Possession of a Handgun. It is illegal to possess a handgun without a carry permit except where it is being transported to and from a gun range or gun shop. It is a second-degree crime that carries 5-10 years in prison and also falls under the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment requirements of the Graves Act.
- Possession of a Firearm for Unlawful Purposes. New Jersey firearms laws state that any person who has possession of a firearm for the purpose of using it against another person or their property is guilty of a criminal offense. A conviction for possession of a gun for an unlawful purpose is also a second-degree crime and carries serious penalties.
- Possession of a BB or Pellet Gun. Individuals often mistakenly believe that a BB gun or Pellet gun is a toy and falls outside the definition of a firearm. While we understand how this impression may be held by the public, our lawyers also know just how serious possession can be, especially if the item is a handgun.
- Graves Act. In 2008, the Graves Act, (codified as N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c)) was expanded to apply not only when someone uses a firearm during the commission of a criminal offense (e.g. Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Sexual Assault, etc.) but also whenever someone unlawfully possesses a firearm. The Graves Act mandates that an individual serve a minimum term in prison before being considered for parole. The parole ineligibility period is equal to the greater of one-half of the sentence imposed or 42 months in prison.
If you are facing gun charges in New Jersey, it is crucial to retain an N.J. criminal lawyer skilled in defending these types of cases.
New Jersey Gun Laws
New Jersey’s gun laws include:
- Permit requirement – Every New Jersey resident is required to obtain a permit if they want to legally possess a firearm.
- Age limit – No one under the age of 18 may obtain a permit. To apply for a handgun permit, you must be 21.
- Purchaser ID – If you wish to purchase a shotgun or rifle, you must obtain a firearms purchaser ID. There also is a separate permit that has to be issued by a local chief of police or by the State Police superintendent in order to purchase a handgun.
- Prohibitions on certain individuals – Anyone convicted of particular crimes, on a terrorist watch list, or institutionalized for a mental disorder cannot legally purchase or possess a firearm.
- Handgun restrictions – Any individual applying for a handgun permit must have their application approved by a judge by showing a ‘justifiable need,’ including an ‘urgent necessity for self-protection.’
- ID requirement for ammunition purchases – A person must have a firearms purchaser ID to buy ammo.
- Assault weapons – All assault weapons are illegal.
- Magazine restrictions – Semi-automatics cannot have magazines exceeding 10 rounds.
- Background check requirement – Anyone wishing to have a firearm privately transferred to them must pass a background check through a federally licensed firearms dealer.
- Transportation of firearms – Firearms may be carried in your vehicle provided the firearm is unloaded, in a locked case, and kept somewhere inaccessible to the vehicle’s occupants, such as the trunk.
- Bump stocks – Bump stocks are banned.
- Ghost guns – ‘Ghost guns,’ which are guns assembled at home with untraceable parts, are prohibited.
New Jersey has a ‘red flag’ law, which allows law enforcement to confiscate the firearms of anyone believed to pose a threat to themselves or others. Law enforcement must first obtain judicial approval for the confiscation. The ‘red flag’ law allows family members to make a request to law enforcement or the court to have a person’s firearms and ammunition confiscated based on the family’s belief that their loved one poses a threat.
The penalties for firearm possession in New Jersey include:
- First Degree: 10-20 years in prison; up to $200,000 fine
- Second Degree: 5-10 years in prison; up to $150,000 fine
- Third Degree: 3-5 years in prison; up to $15,000 fine
- Fourth Degree: up to 18 months in prison; up to $10,000 fine
- Disorderly Persons Offense: up to 6 months in county jail; up to a $1,000 fine
- Petty Disorderly Persons Offense: up to 30 days in county jail; up to a $500 fine
What Guns Are Outlawed?
According to 13:54-1.2 of the New Jersey Administrative Code, the following gun manufacturers, models, and types are banned:
- Algimec AGM1 type
- Armalite AR-180 type
- Australian Automatic Arms SAR
- Avtomat Kalashnikov type semi-automatic firearms
- Beretta AR-70 and BM59 semi-automatic firearms
- Bushmaster Assault Rifle
- Calico M-900 Assault carbine and M-900
- CETME G3
- Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88 type
- Colt AR-15 and CAR-15 series (Colt Match Target Rifle are allowed)
- Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1 and Max 2, AR 100 types
- Demro TAC-1 carbine type
- Encom MP-9 and MP-45 carbine types
- FAMAS MAS223 types
- FN-FAL, FN-LAR, or FN-FNC type semi-automatic firearms
- Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12 shotguns
- G3SA type
- Galil type
- Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, MP5, PSG-1
- Intratec TEC 9 and 22 semi-automatic firearms
- M1 carbine type
- M14S type (M1A’s are allowed)
- MAC 10, MAC 11, MAC 11-9mm carbine type firearms
- PJK M-68 carbine type
- Plainfield Machine Company Carbine
- Ruger K-Mini-14/5F and Mini-14/5RF (Folding & Telescopic Models)
- SIG AMT, SIG 5050SP, SIG 551SP, SIG PE-57 types
- SKS with detachable magazine type
- Spectre Auto carbine type
- Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48 type
- Sterling MK-6, MK-7, and SAR types
- Steyr A.U.G. semi-automatic firearms
- USAS 12 semi-automatic type shotgun
- Uzi type semi-automatic firearms
- Valmet M62, M71S, M76, or M78 type semi-automatic firearms
- Weaver Arm Nighthawk
How to Beat Gun Charges
A skilled criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will look at the circumstances of your case and identify the best possible ways to get the gun charges reduced, dismissed or reduced. A skilled lawyer may be able to get a gun charges case thrown out if it can be shown that the police officer had no reason to stop and search you.
An attorney can challenge illegal searches. Many firearms are recovered based on traffic stops where law enforcement will gain consent – or a search warrant – so they can search the vehicle. However, if the initial traffic stop was unconstitutional, anything a police officer finds in the search is illegal and will be thrown out of court.
Another possibility is for the lawyer to demonstrate that there is no possible way that you were in possession of the firearm. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to show that the prosecution cannot prove you were in possession of the gun because of the location of the weapon.
What Are the Common Gun Charges in New Jersey?
Common gun charges in New Jersey include:
- Possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes
- Possession of a weapon while committing a crime
- Possession of a gun without a license
- Possessing, receiving, or transferring a community gun
- Threatening or hurting a person with a weapon
- Possession of an assault weapon
- Convicted felon in possession of a gun
- Minor in possession of a weapon
- Possession of a firearm at a school
Who Cannot Own a Firearm in NJ?
Certain categories of individuals are prohibited from owning firearms at any time and for any reason, including:
- Anyone convicted of a violent crime, regardless of whether they used a firearm when they committed the crime
- Anyone with a prior conviction for domestic violence
- Anyone who has been committed for mental health treatment
A conviction from another state also prohibits you from possessing a firearm in New Jersey. Certain categories of people may be barred from obtaining a license that allows an individual to lawfully possess a gun, including:
- Those subjected to a restraining order
- Those determined by a court to be drug dependent
- Those placed on a terrorist watch list
Why you should consider hiring an attorney for your gun charge
Given the serious penalties that can result from a gun crime conviction in New Jersey, your future and freedom depend on the skill and experience of the criminal defense lawyer you hire to defend you. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have a combined 200 years of experience defending those charged with the most serious of crimes, including weapons and firearms offenses.
Our attorneys may be able to get gun charges reduced or dismissed by convincing the prosecutor that they cannot prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Even in cases where the prosecutor’s evidence is so strong that the case goes to trial, our attorneys have been successful many times at getting gun charges reduced while helping clients avoid prison time.
Contact Our New Jersey Gun Possession Attorneys
The gun laws in New Jersey are complex. An attempt to resolve a gun charge without the assistance of a skilled attorney is risky. You will lose your freedom if you fail to secure an acquittal or Graves Act waiver, since almost all gun offenses involve a period of incarceration.
There is no substitute for being represented by a qualified and respected criminal defense lawyer if you are serious about achieving a favorable outcome to gun charges. The N.J. defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the experience and skill that you need to meet this challenge. Call us at (877) 450-8301 anytime 24/7 or contact us online for a free consultation.