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Unlawful Possession of a Weapon

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William A ProettaReviewsout of 30 reviews Keith G OliverReviewsout of 55 reviews

Somerset County NJ Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Lawyer

Somerville NJ Gun Charge Defense LawyerIt should be no surprise to hear that the judicial system in New Jersey takes weapons offenses very seriously. Depending on the weapon in question, someone charged with unlawful possession of a weapon could be facing not only mandatory jail time but a mandatory parole ineligibility period as well, pursuant to the Graves Act. Keep in mind that this particular offense simply covers the “possession” aspect and not the “use” or threat thereof the weapon in question.  Furthermore, based on the new bail guidelines in New Jersey, anyone charged with unlawful possession of a weapon could be detained in the Somerset County jail, without bail, pending trial. In order to do so, the prosecution will need to convince a judge that to protect society, assure the Defendant’s appearance in court and/or prevent them from obstructing the prosecution of their case, they must be detained without bail. This will take place during what is known as a Detention Hearing. These hearings can and always should be contested. For more information on detention hearings in New Jersey, please contact our Bridgewater office at 908.533.1064. Our attorneys are available immediately for a free initial consultation.

Lookin to Speak to a Lawyer Near Somerville About Gun Charges

At Proetta & Oliver we are well aware of what a felony weapons conviction let alone a lengthy state prison term can do to someone’s life. As such, we are dedicated to aggressively attacking the evidence presented against our clients in order to obtain a desirable outcome. Unlawful possession of a weapon charges are very similar to drug possession charges, as they normally involve some from of a search and a seizure. Whenever a search and/or a seizure is involved it tends to open the door for what is known as a suppression hearing. During this hearing, an experienced criminal defense attorney can seek to attack the constitutional grounds in which the search was conduct. If successful, the underlying evidence may be barred from trial, which could ultimately lead to a dismissal of the charges. If you have been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, assault by auto, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault or aggravated assault on a police officer in Somerset or Hunterdon County, the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. If you would like to sit down with one of our attorneys about your options, then please feel free to contact us at 908-533-1064. We serve all of Somerset and Hunterdon County, including towns like Clinton, Flemington, Somerville, Bound Brook, Franklin, Bedminster, Plainfield, Watchung, Readington, Raritan and Manville. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs.

What to Know About Defending Gun Cases in New Jersey

When it comes to an unlawful possession of a weapon charge it is important to understand that the “weapon” in question will play a major role in the severity of the charges. Any firearm, whether it be a handgun, machine gun, shotgun or rifle, will fall under the Graves Act and would require a mandatory prison term with a mandatory parole ineligibility period. Whereby weapons like a knife, brass knuckles, a bat or a glass bottle will still be considered a felony offenses but since they do not fall under the Graves Act, the mandatory state prison aspect wouldn’t be applicable. Now that does not mean that a state prison sentence won’t happen, it just means it will not be mandatory. With all that being said, there are ways around the Graves Act in New Jersey and in order to avoid the mandatory prison term, a waiver must be granted. These are very fact specific motions and as such, we strongly urge you consult with an attorney who has experience dealing with these types of cases. For more information on Graves Act Waivers, please see below.

Different Types of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Charge in NJ

All weapons possession cases in New Jersey will be governed under NJSA 2C:39-5. The legislature has chosen to breakdown the statute into four separate subsections. Each subsections in essence covers a different form of a weapon. Here is a chart that breaks down each subsection:

Type of Weapon

What Qualifies?

Machine Gun

A machine gun has been defined as “any firearm … not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot and having a reservoir… (of) ammunition which can be loaded into the firearm, mechanism …”

Hand Gun

A handgun has been defined as “any pistol, revolver … manufactured to fire or eject any solid projectile… with sufficient force to injure a person”

Shotgun/ Rifle

A rifle has been defined as “any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire a single projectile … for each single pull of the trigger…” 

A shotgun has been defined as “any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire … a number of ball shots or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger…”

All Other Weapons

All other weapons has been defined as “anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury”.

What are the Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon?

The potential penalties that someone faces if they are convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon will be determined by the subsection in which they are charged under. If a Defendant is charged under NJSA 2C:39-5a (Machine Gun) or NJSA 2C:39-5b (Handgun) and the handgun is not considered an air gun or spring gun, the individual will be facing a second degree felony offense. If convicted, a Defendant will be facing 5 to 10 years in a State Prison and a fine up to $150,000. This offense does fall under the Graves Act, which in essence requires that the minimum sentence imposed be 5 years in state prison with a 42 month parole ineligibility period. If a Defendant is charged under NJSA 2C:39-5c (Rifles / Shotgun), the individual will be facing a third degree felony offense. If convicted, a Defendant will be facing up 3 to 5 years in a State Prison and a $15,000. Also, if the offense falls under the Graves Act as well, a 42 month parole ineligibility period must be imposed as well. If a Defendant is charged under NJSA 2C:39-5d (Other Weapons), the individual will be facing a fourth degree felony and a fine up to $10,000.

The Graves Act, which has been mentioned throughout this page was enacted in effort to curb gang violence and create extremely harsh penalties for anyone charged with an unlawful possession of a weapons offense. That is one of the many reasons that if you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with this offense that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. There are motions that can be filed in order to seek what is known as a Graves Act Waiver. If the motion is to be granted, the Defendant could see their jail time or parole ineligibility term eliminated or at the very least reduced.

Common Criminal Offenses Issued in Connection with Unlawful Possession of Gun Charges

As discussed above, an unlawful possession of a weapon charge in New Jersey simply seeks to prosecute the “possession” aspect. If it is alleged that the individual used the weapon during the commission of a crime, they could be facing other serious criminal charges as well. Some of the more frequent criminal charges that we see being issued in connection with unlawful possession of a weapon charges include the following: possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose; armed robbery, burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a drug offense and carjacking. If the individual is charged with any of the aforementioned offenses it will clearly make a bad situation far worse. In fact, under most of the previously mentioned charges, the unlawful possession of a weapon aspect could be considered a lower level offense.

Consult with a Hunterdon County NJ Gun Defense Lawyer Today

Being charged with any criminal offense can be frightening, however, being charged with a serious felony offense, that not only mandates jail time but a parole ineligibility period can be terrifying.  If you have been arrested and charged with eluding, unlawful possession of a weapon, simple assault, terroristic threats, distributing heroin or robbery, in New Jersey, we strongly recommend that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your options. Mr. Oliver, one of the firms founding partners, has obtained numerous graves act waivers throughout his career, including waivers that allowed for his clients to be admitted into the Pretrial Intervention Program. If you would like to sit down with Mr. Oliver and discuss your options, then please give us a call at 908.533.1064. You can go over the specifics of your case and Mr. Oliver will give you his honest feedback on how he thinks he can be of assistance. We serve all of Somerset and Hunterdon, including Bernards, Hillsborough, Montgomery, South Bound Brook, Union, Warren, Somerville, Franklin and Bridgewater.