Bergen County Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Attorneys
Criminal Defense Lawyers with Offices in Hackensack, New Jersey
If you are found in possession of a weapon without a permit from New Jersey in this state, you can be arrested and charged with violating N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. This frequently happens to visitors of New Jersey who bring their guns from other states without knowing they are violating the law. Even if you do have a gun permit from New Jersey, possessing and carrying a firearm outside of the specified locations allowed are how most people get charged with crimes. For instance, a person drives to a friend’s house and has their handgun in the glove-box. Many would say, where is the crime? The gun is safely stored in the glove-box, the owner never uses it, and nobody got hurt. Unfortunately, the NJ Legislature decides what the law says and what is a crime, and they harshly punish weapons offenses. As a result, an unlawful possession of a weapon charge in Bergen County NJ can have serious implications on your life and your future. If you find yourself in the unfortunate predicament of facing weapons possession charges, get in touch with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help defend you right away.
Travis J. Tormey and the attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm have extensive experience representing clients charged with illegal gun offenses, including unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and certain persons offenses in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey. Representing clients in towns such as Paramus, Teaneck, Rutherford, Lodi, Mahwah, Montvale, and Fort Lee on a regular basis has allowed them to hone their crafts in the realm of criminal and DWI defense. In fact, Mr. Tormey 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.
For a free consultation about your 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 page for additional information and check out our client reviews on Avvo.com.
New Jersey Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5
In New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 governs charges for unlawful possession of a weapon. The statute encompasses the following offenses:
Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(a)
a. Machine guns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession a machine gun or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without being licensed to do so is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
Unlawful Possession of a Handgun – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)
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.
Unlawful Possession of Rifles and Shotguns – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(c)
1. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
2. Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
Unlawful Possession of Other Weapons – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d)
d. Other weapons. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
Unlawful Possession of Assault Firearms – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(f)
f. Assault firearms. Any person who knowingly has in his possession an assault firearm is guilty of a crime of the second degree except if the assault firearm is licensed, registered or rendered inoperable.
Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in New Jersey
The specific penalties for unlawful possession of a weapon are varied based on the type of weapon involved in the alleged offense. If the weapon is a machine gun, handgun (other than a BB gun or air gun), or assault firearm, it is a second degree crime. If the weapon is a rifle or shotgun, it is a third degree crime. And if the weapon falls within the definition of “other weapons,” the charges are for a fourth degree felony offense. The consequences attached to each degree of crime are as follows:
Second degree unlawful possession of a weapon: punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.
Third degree unlawful possession of a weapon: punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison.
Fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon: punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.
Subsections (a), (b), and (c) of the statute are subject to sentencing under the “Graves Act,” meaning that an individual convicted of such an offense must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a minimum term of parole ineligibility fixed at, or between, one-third to one-half of a sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater.
You can be Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon for a Gun in NJ
In the Garden State, a person can legally possess, keep, and carry a firearm within the owner’s home, place of business, or property. Moreover, an owner can carry their firearm to and from their dwelling, place of work, hunting site, or a target range. However, please note, you must travel directly to and from the specified locations. You cannot make any unreasonable detour, as the law has clearly indicated that a gun cannot be transported in an unlawful manner to other locations. Also, please further note, when traveling with a gun, it must be transported in a specific manner. It must be placed in the trunk of a vehicle, unloaded, and locked in a case or gun box.
With that in mind, the firearm restrictions apply after you acquire the appropriate permit to purchase a firearm. Therefore, a person can legally possess and keep a firearm in the specified places after obtaining a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card or Permit to Purchase a Handgun. Also, please keep in mind, if the owner wishes to carry their gun to other locations not addressed in the statute, he or she must acquire a permit to carry. However, it is nearly impossible to obtain such a permit in New Jersey so please plan on being confined to the locations set forth in the statute.
Weapons on School Grounds in New Jersey
Even if you have a valid license or carry permit for your handgun, you can still be charged with a crime for unlawfully possessing it at a school. The law includes a provision that makes it illegal for anyone to knowingly have in their possession a firearm on the grounds of any school, college, university, or other educational institution, unless the person with the weapon has written authorization from the governing officer of the school. Since this offense is classified as a third degree felony, a conviction for bringing your legally owned handgun onto school property could result in you being sentenced to 3-5 years in state prison.
Contact a Hackensack NJ Weapons Possession Defense Attorney Today
With the severe consequences of a conviction for unlawful possession of a weapon, your life is hanging in the balance. Protect yourself by obtaining aggressive, thorough legal counsel. The attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm in Hackensack, New Jersey are available to provide you with a cost-free consultation. Contact us at (201)-330-4979 and take the first step toward successfully resolving your case. You can also visit our success stories page to read just a few of the many weapons and criminal charges that we have successfully beaten, had downgraded, or otherwise helped clients to get dismissed or resolve in their best interests.