Former County Prosecutors That Include The Director of the Guns Task Force Are Ready To Defend Your Illegal Handgun Charge in New Jersey
It is illegal to possess a handgun or pistol in NJ absent a properly issued license, permit or exemption under the law. It is also important to keep in mind that this regulation applies to both New Jersey residents and non-residents. This fact often comes as a major surprise to individuals visiting or passing through the state who are in possession of a handgun (e.g. trucker or other individual carrying for protection) that was purchased legally elsewhere. It is an even bigger shock when they learn that unlawful possession of a handgun is presumed to result in a long state prison sentence. This is why is it essential that you hire a talented NJ Criminal Defense Attorney if you have been charged with possessing a handgun without a permit. The lawyers at our firm are well equipped to persuasively represent you in this capacity so that you maintain your freedom.
The penalties for possessing a pistol without a permit or license make it crucial to retain an experienced handgun lawyer. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall, possess exemplary qualifications that include:
- Over 200 years of combined experience
- Former County Prosecutors that have served in key handgun related roles like Director of Major Crimes, the Guns Task Force and the entire Trial Division
- Attorneys who have been certified by the NJ Supreme Court as certified criminal trial attorneys
- A team of 10 lawyers whose practice is exclusively defense
- Thousands of cases successfully handled over the last several decades
One of our lawyers is available 24/7 to assist with questions, preparation for a first appearance or detention hearing, or to provide a free initial consultation. We hope you find the information regarding this topic of assistance and please do not hesitate to contact us at 877-450-8301 if you would like to know more about a charge for possession of an illegal handgun.
New Jersey Handgun Law: Unlawful Possession Resulting From The Lack of a Permit or License
Possession of a handgun without a license/permit, also referred to as unlawful possession of a handgun, is outlined at N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b. This statute prohibits an individual from knowingly possessing a handgun without obtaining a NJ carry permit. It is pivotal to also keep in mind that a license or permit properly issued in another state does not qualify under this law. See State v. Hatch, 64 N.J. 179, 185 (1973).
The county prosecutor or attorney general seeking a conviction under 2C:39-5b must establish three (3) elements. Each of these facts must be established beyond reasonable doubt.
- Presence of a “handgun”;
- Knowing “possession” of the handgun by the accused; and
- Lack of a permit.
For purposes of this law, a “handgun” includes a pistol, revolver or any other firearm designed to fire a solid projectile, ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet by means of a cartridge or shell or by action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances by the use of a single hand. It can also include a BB or pellet gun activated by air or spring.
“Possession” can be either actual, that is, direct control on an individual’s person, or constructive possession. An individual has constructive possession of a handgun when he is aware of the existence of the firearm and has the ability and intention to control it. An individual must also lack a permit or license to be guilty under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b. In this regard, there is a presumption that a defendant does not possess a license, identification card or permit unless he establishes to the contrary. A jury is allowed to infer that no permit existed and then it is up to the suspect to come forward in a case under 2C:39-5b with evidence establishing a valid permit.
It is also important to keep in mind that while self-defense is a available to defeat this charge, it only applies where the defendant spontaneously arms himself to defend against an immediate danger. The possession is illegal where an individual arms himself with a handgun before the danger becomes imminent or in preparation for a potential conflict.
NJ Penalties for Unlicensed Possession of a Handgun, Pistol or Revolver
A conviction for illegal possession of a handgun is a second degree crime. A Second Degree Offense carries a period of incarceration of between 5 and 10 years. Unlawful possession of a handgun also falls within the Graves Act. Additionally, a conviction for this charge falls within the Graves Act. The Graves Act imposes a period of parole ineligibility that an individual serve in jail before they are eligible for parole. The mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed is 42 months. Relief from this stiff penalty is rare but can be accomplished if your lawyer convinces the prosecutor that a Graves Act waiver should be granted. You can refer to our Graves Act page for further information regarding waivers.
BB & Pellet Guns. If a pistol or revolver fires a BB or pellet (i.e.ejects an object smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter) and is activated by compressed air, spring, elastic, carbon dioxide, other gas or vapor, or is ignited by compressed air, unlicensed possession contrary to 2C:39-5b is a third degree crime. Third degree possession of a BB gun or pellet gun carries 0-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. You should also be aware that the Graves Act and its mandatory minimum sentencing requirements comes into play if the spring loaded or air fired device is used in the commission of a robbery, to commit an assault or for some other unlawful purpose.
Contact Our Accomplished Illegal Handgun Lawyers in New Jersey
It should be more than apparent from what you have learned about the NJ handgun laws that you absolutely need to hire a skilled criminal lawyer if you have been charged with unlawful possession under 2C:39-5b. It would also be extremely helpful if the attorney has considerable knowledge and experience defending illegal handgun charges like those at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall.
To learn more about the handgun offense you are facing, defenses that we can present on your behalf (e.g. illegal motor vehicle stop, search of your car or home and many others), or how we can get a loved one released from custody, contact one of our attorneys now at 1-877-450-8301. Lawyer on our team, including a former Gun Task Force Director and member of the NRA, is available to assist you immediately.