Weapons Offense Attorney in Elizabeth, NJ
If you have been charged with a weapons offense in Elizabeth, NJ, do not hesitate to contact William Proetta Criminal Law to discuss your legal options for defense. New Jersey courts punish weapons offenses harshly, and a conviction could have severe consequences.
Upon conviction for a weapons offense in New Jersey, you could face a lengthy prison sentence and expensive fines. A conviction could also cost you your job, hurt your family, and destroy your reputation. Furthermore, you could lose your right to possess a firearm.
You should never attempt to defend yourself against weapons charges without an experienced Elizabeth weapon offense lawyer from William Proetta Criminal Law. When you come to us for help, we can create a customized defense strategy to reduce or eliminate the charges against you.
Contact us online today for a free, confidential consultation to learn more about your rights.
What Is Considered a ‘Weapon’ Under NJ Law?
State law defines a weapon as anything readily capable of inflicting severe bodily injury or death, including:
- Firearms and stun guns, even if not loaded or lacking a clip or another part
- Components a person could assemble into a weapon
- Dirks, gravity knives, bludgeons, sand clubs, switchblade knives, stilettos, and metal knuckles
- Daggers, slingshots, blackjacks, cesti, and bullies
- Leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades embedded in pieces of wood
- Any weapon or device that releases, emits, or projects tear gas or another substance intended to cause permanent injury or temporary physical discomfort
Types of Weapons Charges We Handle in Elizabeth
At William Proetta Criminal Law, we represent clients in weapons offense cases involving charges like:
- Unlawful possession of a weapon – Purchasing or possessing a gun in New Jersey despite a disqualifying criminal record or a history of institutionalization.
- Possessing a weapon for an illegal purpose – Using a gun to threaten another person or for any other unlawful purpose, whether or not you are legally allowed to possess the gun.
- Assault with a deadly weapon – Injuring or threatening to injure another person with a deadly weapon. Keep in mind that you can face assault charges in New Jersey even if you did not actually cause injury to the other person.
- Firearms and weapons trafficking – Selling firearms or other weapons in New Jersey without a proper Retail Firearms Dealers License.
- Possessing a weapon without a permit – Purchasing or possessing a gun without properly registering it in New Jersey, even if you legally purchased it in another state.
- Brandishing a weapon – Pointing a firearm at another person with reckless disregard for their safety, even if you never end up firing the gun.
- Possession of a weapon while committing a crime – Using a gun while committing any crime typically results in harsher penalties for the principal crime.
NJ Weapons Laws and Penalties
New Jersey has strict laws regarding weapons, especially firearms. A firearm is any machine gun, handgun, shotgun, rifle, or instrument that can emit or fire any solid projectable ball, missile, slug, bullet, vapor, gas, or toxic substance from a shell or cartridge.
State laws impose regulations on possessing, using, and registering firearms and other weapons in New Jersey. The law also governs whether and how a person can lawfully transport weapons.
No one in the state can own or possess certain devices and weapons, such as switchblade knives, armor-penetrating bullets, and sawed-off shotguns.
The penalty for a weapons offense depends on the degree of the crime. Sentencing guidelines include:
- Petty disorderly persons offenses – Up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days in jail
- Disorderly persons offenses – Up to $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail
- Fourth-degree indictable crimes – Up to $10,000 in fines and up to 18 months in prison
- Third-degree indictable crimes – Up to $15,000 in fines and 3 to 5 years in prison
- Second-degree indictable crimes – Up to $150,000 in fines and 5 to 10 years in prison
- First-degree indictable crimes – Up to $200,000 in fines and 10 to 20 years in prison
Potential Defenses to a Weapons Charge in Elizabeth, NJ
Numerous defenses could be available in a weapons offense case depending on the circumstances, including the charge and severity of the crime.
Common defenses to weapons charges include:
- Presenting a weapons permit allowing the legal possession of the weapon in question
- Showing that the weapon was used in self-defense or while defending someone else
- Proving a lack of knowledge of possessing the weapon in question
- Showing a lack of unlawful purpose, meaning legal possession without the intent to offend
- Proving a violation of civil rights, such as law enforcement failing to provide a Miranda warning or performing an unlawful search or seizure
- Arguing that the prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
What Is the New Jersey Graves Act?
The Graves Act is one of the harshest gun control laws in the U.S., requiring minimum terms of imprisonment for specific gun-related crimes in New Jersey. The Graves Act also prohibits eligibility for parole for one-third to one-half of an offender’s total prison term.
Initially, the Graves Act only applied to possessing or using a firearm during specific offenses or possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Following recent amendments, the Act now also applies to convictions for crimes such as:
- Possession of a defaced firearm
- Unlawful possession of a handgun, shotgun, machine gun, or rifle
- Transport, manufacture, or disposal of a sawed-off shotgun, assault weapon, or machine gun
- Possession of a sawed-off shotgun
- Defacement of a firearm
- Possession of certain weapons by someone previously convicted of certain crimes
- Possession of a firearm while committing certain drug distribution crimes
Why You Need Our Criminal Defense Lawyers
Appearing in court without legal representation is not a good idea. You would be held to the same standards as an attorney, and a single mistake could have grave consequences. You deserve a criminal defense lawyer with experience to defend you against the charges you face.
A Elizabeth weapon charges attorney from William Proetta Criminal Law can develop a solid defense by poking holes in the prosecutor’s case and challenging the evidence against you. We can protect your rights and work with the prosecution to seek a reduced charge for a lesser sentence or even an outright dismissal.
When you hire us, we can handle tasks such as:
- Securing your release from jail on your own recognizance or for an appropriate bail amount
- Uncovering evidence to dispute the prosecution’s case against you
- Locating reliable witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Reviewing police reports and other evidence to build a solid defense on your behalf
- Listening to your side of the story and looking for discrepancies in the prosecution’s argument
- Negotiating a plea deal for a lesser charge or sentence, if possible
- Searching for evidence of law enforcement violating your rights
- Pursuing alternative sentencing options, such as probation or community service
- Preparing a solid and thorough defense on your behalf and representing you in court, if you need to go to trial
Contact Our Elizabeth Weapons Offense Lawyers Today
When you face an uncertain future, proceeding without a lawyer or with an overworked public defender is a gamble. Let the Elizabeth weapons offense attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law eliminate the guesswork and champion your rights every step of the way.
Contact us online for a free, confidential consultation with our dedicated weapons crime lawyers at our office conveniently located in Cranford, NJ.