Passaic County Gun Charge Defense Attorneys 

Gun Case Dismissed Paterson NJ After Grand Jury Fails to Indict

Gun Charge Lawyer Passaic County NJNeed a lawyer for a gun charge in Passaic County? We can help.

Our criminal defense lawyers recently represented a client charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose at the Passaic County Superior Court in Paterson, New Jersey.

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon – Handgun – N.J.S. 2C:39-5

Typically handgun charges are either second or third degree charges.  Third degree charges are reserved for air and spring related handguns (BB, or airsoft guns) with second degree charges involving guns that shoot “real bullets.” The following excerpt from the NJ Weapons Statute clarifies:

b. Handguns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same is guilty of a crime of the third degree if the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person. Otherwise it is a crime of the second degree.

Illegal Possession of a Handgun Without a Permit Charges – Passaic County, Paterson NJ

Once our client was arrested and charged with 2nd degree unlawful possession of a weapon, the case was transferred to the Passaic County Superior Court in Paterson, NJ where it is prosecuted by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s office. In order to proceed with an indictable (felony) charge, the case must be presented to a grand jury for an indictment. The grand jury is composed of 23 citizens who hear testimony (usually from police officers) which is presented by the prosecutor and then determine whether or not to issue an indictment which is the formal charging document. Twelve jurors must vote in favor to indict in order for an indictment to be issued. If less than twelve votes to indict are returned by the Grand Jury, then a no bill is issued.

Presenting Mitigating Evidence to the Prosecutor – Case Dismissed

Our client was in his 40’s with no prior criminal record. The circumstances of the arrest were as follows. Our client, a father of two, grew up in Paterson himself. As a result, he tried to give back to the community by volunteering at a local boys center where he also spent time growing up. During his volunteer work there, he overheard several boys talking about a gun and that one of the boys had a handgun. As such, he confronted the young man about it and convinced the boy to turn over the gun to him. The gun was wrapped in a t-shirt and was never actually touched by our client. He took the weapon, put it in his trunk, and planned on turning it in to one of those “voluntary surrender” programs that have been held recently after the events in Connecticut.

Then, our client and his wife had an argument and she called the police. She was furious that he had been unfaithful to her with another woman. She was aware of what transpired with the young man and the weapon and she knew that he had the gun in his car. She told the police that he threatened her with the gun and he was arrested immediately. He was facing multiple felony charges including unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was facing 5-10 years in jail with a presumption of incarceration. The typical plea offer in a case like this is five (5) years New Jersey State Prison, three (3) years to be served without the possibility of parole.

Our client was distraught and hired Mr. Tormey to represent him. We hired an investigator on behalf of our client to take statements from the pastor who runs the volunteer program at the boys center and from our client’s girlfriend who had now recanted her statements to police and told the investigator that our client never threatened her with the weapon or even possessed the weapon after he had taken custody of it from the young boy in Paterson. As a result, the prosecutor’s office presented the case to the Grand Jury for an indictment with both statements from the police and also the new statements from the pastor and the girlfriend. Based on this new evidence, the Grand Jury failed to indict our client and the charges were dismissed altogether. This was an unbelievable result for the client and his family, considering he was surely facing at least three (3) years in jail without parole.

Possession of Illegal Weapon Paterson NJ – Need a Lawyer

For immediate assistance from one of our attorneys, contact the Hackensack law offices of The Tormey Law Firm, in Bergen County, New Jersey at (201)-330-4979.


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.