Gun Possession Lawyers in Newark NJ
The Essex County weapons crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have a long and successful track record of defending clients accused of criminal offenses that involve guns or other types of weapons. Our gun crimes defense lawyers only work on criminal cases and DWI cases; out of all 11 lawyers at the law firm, none of them works in another practice area, and all of them are certified criminal trial attorneys. That means that we all have up-to-date knowledge of what works to the advantage of defendants in criminal cases.
No matter what the prosecution is alleging in your case, the Essex County weapons crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have heard it all before. We have a total of more than 200 years of experience in criminal defense law in New Jersey. Some of us have even worked for the Essex County prosecutor’s office or for municipal prosecutors’ offices in Essex County. Therefore, we know what the prosecution might say in every situation and what you as a defendant should say or do in response. You have everything to gain by contacting the Essex County weapons crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall if you are facing criminal charges for possession of a firearm or any other offense involving a weapon.
Unlawful Possession of a Weapons Attorney in Essex County
There are a wide array of weapons-related charges that exist under New Jersey. In most cases, the type of weapon, as well as the circumstances surrounding the possession, will determine the degree of crime and potential penalties involved. What we witness so often are individuals who are shocked to learn that they are exposed not only a jail term but a significant state prison term for violating a weapon law. In this regard, the law in NJ is very strict when it comes to failure to possess a valid rifle/handgun permit, using a weapon for an unlawful purpose, or when the person is a certain person not to possess a weapon. And even if you aren’t a New Jersey resident, you must comply with the state firearms laws for transporting weapons when traveling through the state. If convicted, sentencing for unlawful possession violations ranges from up to 18 months to 10 years. Our firm has extensive experience defending individuals charged with weapons violations and handles the following types of cases:
- Prohibited Weapons
- Certain Persons Offense
- Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose
- Possession During the Commission of a CDS Offense
- Illegal Handgun Charges
- Unlawful Possession of a Shotgun, Rifle or Other Firearm
What Counts as a Weapon?
The definition of a weapon changes according to context. You can probably remember a time in elementary school when a kid threw an ordinarily harmless object, such as a pencil or a book, and got in trouble because, according to the teacher, someone could have gotten hurt if the object had hit them. According to New Jersey law, any object becomes a weapon if you use it as such; you can get criminal charges for stabbing someone with a pencil, but not simply for having a pencil in your backpack. Likewise, it is a crime to hit someone with a hammer but not to have a hammer in the toolbox in your garage. If you attack someone with a weapon that could cause serious injury, you can get charged with aggravated assault, regardless of the severity of the injury that the victim actually suffered.
Conversely, some items are considered weapons by their very nature. These are some examples of items that automatically count as weapons:
- Firearms, including handguns and rifles, among other types of guns
- BB guns
- Hand grenades and other explosive devices
Context is important in weapons cases. A kitchen knife may or may not be a weapon just the way a spoon may or may not be drug paraphernalia, and a hunting knife may or may not be a weapon just as a syringe may or may not be drug paraphernalia. Of course, it is entirely possible for law enforcement to run roughshod over these details, which is why it is so important to work with the Essex County weapons crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall.
When is it Legal to Own a Gun in New Jersey?
According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, New Jersey’s gun laws are among the most effective at preventing gun violence. In fact, New Jersey and California are the only two states to which the Giffords Law Center awarded an “A” for gun laws that effectively reduce violence and accidental shootings. Any adult who wishes to buy a firearm in New Jersey must first apply for an appropriate license, which the state will only award after the applicant has passed a background check. The permit to purchase a handgun requires a less rigorous screening process than the firearms purchaser identification card (FPIC), which is required to buy a shotgun or rifle. You must show your handgun permit or FPIC to the seller whenever you buy ammunition. You need to apply for a new handgun permit every time you purchase a new firearm, and you cannot buy another handgun until 30 days have passed since you bought the previous one. FPICs do not expire and do not require a waiting period between gun purchases.
Unlike some other states, you cannot bring your gun with you everywhere; you must always keep it at home, except when you are hunting or going to a gun range for target practice. Whenever you have your gun with you, you should always carry your handgun permit or FPIC. You can get in at least as much legal trouble for transporting a firearm without carrying these documents as you can for operating a motor vehicle without carrying a driver’s license.
You are not eligible to purchase firearms in New Jersey if any of the following apply to you:
- You have been convicted on a crime punishable by six months in jail or more
- You have undergone inpatient treatment for mental illness, alcoholism, or drug addiction
- You have been diagnosed with a physical or mental illness that makes it unsafe for you to use firearms
- You are under 18 years of age
- You were convicted of weapons charges in juvenile court
- You have gotten into legal trouble for domestic violence
- You are on the terrorism watch list
The fact that you can lose your right to own a gun if you get convicted of a crime, even one that does not involve guns or violence, should convince you to take your criminal charges seriously. Among other things, the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help you avoid criminal convictions that would deprive you of your right to own a firearm.
Can You Get Charged With Possession of a Weapon in Essex County Even if You Do Not Harm Anyone?
It is possible to get criminal charges for weapons offenses, and to go to jail if you are convicted, even if you did not injure anyone. For example, threatening someone with a gun is a crime. If the police accuse you of showing your gun to someone in order to scare them into giving you their money or other possessions, you could be charged with armed robbery. You can even get charged with weapons offenses just because the weapons are in your possession.
Illegal possession of the firearm is a crime punishable by incarceration, but it is far from the worst-case scenario. You can get charged with illegal possession of a weapon if there is a gun on your property and you are not allowed to own it because of a previous criminal conviction or substance abuse problem, even if you bought the gun legally and once held a valid FPIC. If there is evidence of other crimes, your charges could get much more serious, such if there is also evidence that you were planning a violent attack or that you were involved in a drug trafficking operation.
Penalties for Weapons Offenses
The penalties for weapons offenses could be anything from probation to a long prison sentence, depending on the specifics of the crime, your previous criminal record, and whether you get a plea deal. Remember that, if the charges are serious enough to involve a weapon, they are serious enough that your right to own a firearm is at stake. If you are underage at the time of your arrest, weapons charges are the only type of criminal conviction that can continue to have consequences even after you reach adulthood. Specifically, underage weapon use can jeopardize your right to own a gun as an adult. For these reasons, it is essential to get the Essex County weapons crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at the earliest opportunity, so you can avoid a criminal conviction that could affect you for the rest of your life.
Essex County Weapons Charges Defense Lawyer
All persons charged with crimes in the United States have the right to be presumed innocent until found guilty at a fair trial. They also have the right not to be pressured into admitting that they committed the crime of which they are accused, and they have the right not to answer questions from law enforcement, except when their lawyer is present. If you get charged with a crime, you may find that the police make it a lot harder to exercise those rights than you expected.
Your best defense is a lawyer who has seen the criminal justice system from all angles, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney If you hire the Essex County weapons crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, that is what you will get. Your lawyers will help you choose the best strategy, depending on the circumstances of your case. In many cases, your lawyer will be able to help you avoid jail time. Contact the Essex County weapons crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in Newark or Bloomfield to discuss your criminal case involving firearms, explosives, or another kind of weapon.