Bergen County NJ Certain Persons Offense Attorneys

Aggressive Weapons Defense Lawyers for Certain Persons Charges in Hackensack, NJ

The certain persons statute prohibits specific types of individuals from weapons possession in the State of New Jersey. What makes someone a certain person? According to section N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, a certain person is someone who has previously been convicted of a specific crime or attempt/conspiracy to commit such crime in the State of New Jersey or elsewhere, or someone who has been hospitalized or institutionalized for a mental illness, and who by statute is no longer allowed to possess firearms. A person violates this law by knowingly purchasing or possessing a firearm or other weapon anyway. Based on the circumstances, you may face second degree or fourth degree felony charges for a certain persons offense. Depending on the degree of crime charged in your case, your exposure to punishments may include up to 18 months or a maximum of 10 years incarcerated. Firearms offenses charged in violation of New Jersey’s certain persons law also carry mandatory prison terms without parole eligibility. Considering all of these unfortunate realities, it is crucial to get in touch with an experienced weapons defense attorney who can defend you and preserve your freedom. If you have been charged with a certain persons not to have weapons offense, let us take on the burden of what you are up against.

Travis J. Tormey is the founding partner of the Tormey Law Firm, with offices in the heart of Bergen County, New Jersey. He was named one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys Under 40 In New Jersey in 2014 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys and also heralded as one of the Top 40 Attorneys Under 40 in the Nation in 2014 by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Tormey has extensive experience representing clients charged with illegal gun offenses, including possession of an Airsoft gun, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon throughout New Jersey, including in Garfield, Cliffside Park, Paramus, Palisades Interstate Park, Rutherford, Edgewater and Bergenfield.

For a free consultation about your certain persons case or other weapons charges in New Jersey, call (201)-330-4979, submit an online contact form, or schedule an appointment to meet with us in person at our convenient Hackensack office location. You can also review our client testimonials for additional information and check out our client reviews on

Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7 created what is known as the “certain persons” offense. This statute states that any person who qualifies as a “certain person” is prohibited under the law from possessing a weapon. Typically, individuals charged under this offense are prior convicted felons or persons previously committed for a mental disorder. A violation of this statute can be either a second degree or a fourth degree offense. If the certain person is in possession of a firearm, this is typically a second degree charge. A fourth degree offense usually involves a weapon that is not a firearm.

If you have been convicted of any of the following offenses, you may be considered a “certain person” under New Jersey law:

This law also applies to those convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime, or any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium unless the person possesses a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that the person is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes with or handicaps the person in the handling of a firearm, or any person who has been convicted of an offense, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense, for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance (other than a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense) was , who purchases, owns, possesses or controls any of the specified weapons or any ammunition.

Elements of a Certain Persons Violation

The elements of a certain persons offense are:

  • a defendant knowingly purchased a weapon or firearm,
  • the item is a weapon or firearm, and
  • the defendant was convicted of an offense or civilly committed to a hospital for mental health issues.

Specifically, N.J.S.A. 2C: 39-1(r) defines weapons as anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury. The term includes, but is not limited to, all (1) firearms, even though not loaded or lacking a clip or other component to render them immediately operable; (2) components which can be readily assembled into a weapon; (3) gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, or other dangerous knives, billies, blackjacks, bludgeons, metal knuckles, sandclubs, slingshots, cesti or similar leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood; and (4) stun guns; and any weapon or other device which projects, releases, or emits tear gas or any other substance intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air.

Penalties for Certain Persons Charges in New Jersey

Generally, a certain persons offense is a crime of the fourth degree which subjects an individual to a term of imprisonment up to eighteen months. However, a certain persons offense may be considered a crime of the second or third degree when coupled with an act of domestic violence. It is also second degree crime when the person has been convicted of one of the above crimes and is found in possession of a firearm. A second degree offense has a presumption of imprisonment and a state prison term of 5 to 10 years. By contrast, a fourth degree offense results in a maximum of 18 months in state prison.

Weapons offenses, like the one described here, subject a defendant to a mandatory term of imprisonment.  Mandatory terms of imprisonment for certain weapons offenses are governed by the Graves Act.  The goal of the legislature in imposing such mandatory prison sentences for certain crimes involving weapons is to deter and discourage individuals from participating in illegal firearms offenses. As a result, the Graves Act requires imprisonment of at least 5 years for a certain person in possession of a firearm and a period of parole ineligibility of between one-third and one-half prison sentence.

Call an Experienced Paramus NJ Certain Persons Gun Crime Lawyer Today

There are many ways to challenge a firearm offense, including whether there was proper consent to search one’s property or motor vehicle, the legality of a motor vehicle stop, challenging a warrant, through strong plea negotiations, and more. If you or a loved one has been charged with a weapons offense in New Jersey, contact our Hackensack offices at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation. You can also use our online contact form to schedule an in-person appointment to discuss your case.


If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.