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Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Firearm Charge in Essex County, Newark NJ

If you have been charged with unlawful possession of weapon, other than possession of a handgun, this page will provide you with the information you are seeking. The New Jersey Criminal Code treats handguns differently and you can find a discussion on that subject, possession of a handgun without a permit, by clicking here.  The information that follows should provide helpful guidance if you or a loved one has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon under N.J.S. 2C:39-5. For live assistance from one of our former prosecutors, you can call our Newark NJ law firm at 973-710-1520. Initial consultations are always free of charge so do not hesitate in contacting us for help.

Machine Guns

Possession of a machine gun is a second degree crime. In addition, the Graves Act applies so that there is a mandatory minimum jail term that must be imposed if someone is found guilty of this offense. The court may impose a prison sentence of 5-10 years and a fine of up to $150,000 if someone is found guilty of possession of a machine gun.

Rifles & Shotguns

If you are found guilty of knowingly possessing a rifle or shotgun without a firearms purchasers identification card, it is a third degree crime. The jail exposure for possession of a long gun, including a rifle, shotgun or other device, is up to five years and the fine is $15,000.

Assault Weapon

In New Jersey, it is a second degree crime to possess an assault firearm, except in those limited circumstances where the weapon is licensed in the state or inoperable.  The same second degree penalties as those for machine guns apply to assault weapons. The Graves Act also applies to this charge.

Possession of a Weapon Under Circumstances Not Manifestly Appropriate

There are many objects that do not require a license or permit and which are not illegal on their face. However, when someone possesses the item in certain contexts, it plainly is inappropriate. Possession is not “manifestly appropriate” where the intended use poses a threat to person or property and this fact is easily understood or recognized. It must be kept in mind that there need not be proof of an unlawful purpose to sustain this charge.  It is a fourth degree crime when this law is violated. Examples of situations where this offense might apply include possession of a concealed kitchen knife, possession of a loaded BB gun in the front seat of a motor vehicle in the early morning hours, or possession of a baseball bat between the seat of ones car.

Does Self-Defense Apply To A Charge for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon?

The answer is yes but under very limited circumstances. Use of a weapon in self-defense is permitted when the arming is spontaneous in order to meet an immediate danger. It is not a valid defense where the defendant arms himself/herself prior to the encounter.

Newark Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Defense Lawyers

Our criminal defense firm in Essex County is prepared to fight any weapon offense you are facing at the Essex County Superior Court or elsewhere. We will put our decades of knowledge and experience to work for you to obtain the best result possible under the circumstances. An attorney in our Newark Office is ready to help you now at 973-710-1520.