Shootings occur all too frequently in New Jersey. For example, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office issued a press release recently, stating that multiple officers were involved in a non-fatal shooting at 280 US Route 1 in Edison, NJ. Police-involved shootings often center on the question of whether officers believed that the person arrested, a suspect, or a shooting victim was carrying or could have been carrying a gun. It goes without saying that you should never give police the idea that you might be about to pull a firearm on them. But did you know that pointing a firearm at a police officer in New Jersey is considered a serious crime? In fact, you can face severe penalties for criminal charges if you point a firearm at a civilian, point a gun in the direction of a law enforcement officer, or otherwise possess a weapon in a manner that makes someone else fear for their safety. Here’s everything you need to know about charges for pointing a firearm in New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a gun or weapons charge, including unlawful possession of a handgun or possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, you should consider contacting our Middlesex County weapons defense lawyers to discuss your situation and find out more about your legal options. Please call 732-659-9600 to receive a free consultation or contact us via message. We are here to help.
What is the Charge for Pointing a Firearm at a Police Officer in NJ?
New Jersey law, specifically N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(9), outlaws pointing a firearm at a police officer. The statute expressly prohibits knowingly pointing or displaying a firearm in the direction of a law enforcement officer. The act must indicate extreme indifference for the value of human life, a situation that the prosecutor trying the case will generally attempt to prove by calling witnesses or showing video footage. In order to convict a person of violating 2C:12-1(b)(9), the state must establish that the act of pointing a gun at police was not some harmless mistake, but rather a knowing and dangerous choice to endanger or threaten the life of an officer. Note that you can also be charged with crimes for pointing a laser pointer or imitation firearm at an officer under another criminal statute.
New Jersey law specifies that it is a third-degree indictable offense to knowingly point a firearm at a police officer. An indictable offense is a serious crime that is similar to a felony in states outside of New Jersey. If you are convicted of this offense, you can be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
Can You Face Criminal Charges for Pointing a Gun at Another Person in New Jersey?
New Jersey law prohibits far more than the specific act of pointing a gun at a police officer. You can also be charged criminally for pointing a firearm at a civilian, meaning any other person. New Jersey statute (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(4)) criminalizes pointing a firearm at any person, if you point that firearm at the person in a manner that shows extreme indifference for the value of human life. For example, if the evidence shows that you were not simply moving a firearm to your car and accidentally allowed the barrel to point at a bystander, or any other similar innocent situation, you may be convicted of this serious crime. The prosecutor must only prove that you were you were pointing a handgun, shotgun, rifle, assault firearm, or even a BB gun in a dangerous manner, regardless of whether or not you believed that the firearm was loaded or unloaded at the time.
Can You Go to Jail for Pointing a Gun at Someone Else in New Brunswick?
You can face months to years in prison for pointing a gun at someone else in New Jersey. As mentioned, a conviction for pointing a gun at an officer can result in 3 to 5 years in state prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Pointing a gun at another person can also result in severe penalties, including over a year in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Arrested for a Shooting in Middlesex County, What am I Facing?
If you do more than point a firearm at another person and actually fire it, you can face serious charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault can be charged as a fourth degree, third degree, or second degree indictable offense, depending on the specific facts of your offense. If you fire your weapon at a police officer or seriously injure someone, you may be charged at the higher end of this range, whereas if you fire at a civilian and do not cause serious injury, or otherwise have mitigating facts that help your case, you may face charges at the lower end of this range. Even the lowest-level felony charge, a fourth degree crime, can still result in fines and serious jail time.
Looking for a Lawyer for Edison Pointing a Firearm Charges
If you are charged with pointing a firearm at a police officer or any other person, the consequences of a negative outcome can be devastating. As such, you should understand all of your options for an effective defense and start by consulting an experienced weapons attorney. Contact our Middlesex County gun charge lawyers at (732)-659-9600 for immediate assistance and a free consultation.