Jersey City Gun Crime Defense Lawyer
New Jersey takes a hard line on crimes involving firearms, even when it’s a first-time gun charge. If you’ve found yourself charged with a gun offense in Jersey City, you’re probably worried about your future and unsure about how to navigate the NJ criminal justice system.
Being charged with a criminal weapons offense in Jersey City means you must appear before a Hudson County Superior Court judge. Our Jersey City gun crime defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you and how to best protect your rights and freedom.
When you are facing firearms charges in Jersey City, you can count on the extensive skills and knowledge of the William Proetta Criminal Law team to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation about how an experienced criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help you fight gun crime charges in Jersey City.
Why You Need Our Defense Lawyers When Facing Gun Charges
If you’re facing firearms charges or charges relating to an unregistered gun in New Jersey, having quality legal representation is essential. The New Jersey criminal justice system isn’t on your side. With police investigators and prosecutors looking to put away people charged with gun crimes, it should feel intimidating to face a judge on your own.
You do have rights as a criminal defendant, but you must exercise your rights. The William Proetta Criminal Law defense lawyers focus on defending your rights and fighting for your best interests.
We can closely examine your arrest’s circumstances and determine whether your civil rights were violated. We may discover evidence that helps exonerate you. We can also look at your case to determine whether mitigating circumstances could result in a lesser penalty. Our legal team has decades of collective experience asserting the rights of New Jersey residents facing criminal charges. We offer personalized defense representation and advocacy tailored to your unique situation. We are ready to discuss your options during a free consultation.
Common Weapons Charges in Jersey City
New Jersey gun laws are complex. These are examples of some of the most common charges that people face in Jersey City:
- Unlawful possession of a weapon – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. Unlawful possession of a firearm means that you may have knowingly possessed a weapon under circumstances not appropriate for lawful possession. That could mean you aren’t permitted to possess a weapon or that you bring it somewhere you’re not permitted to have it, such as an airport.
- Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose – N.J.S.A. 2C: 39-4. This charge means that the individual possessed a weapon for the purpose of unlawfully using it against another person.
- Unlawful Possession of a BB Gun, Airsoft Gun, or Pellet Gun – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b). If you unlawfully possess an imitation firearm such as a spring or compressed air-propelled gun, you could face third-degree gun possession charges.
- Unlawful Disposition of a Firearm – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9. This includes the illegal sale or transport of firearms into the state.
- Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7. Certain people, such as convicted felons or those who have been institutionalized for mental illness, are not permitted to possess a firearm. If you know that you are prohibited from possessing a firearm and are in possession of one anyway, then you could face jail time for unlawful possession of a handgun.
Degrees of New Jersey Weapons Charges in Jersey City
Possession of a firearm or other weapon for an unlawful purpose carries indictable offense charges in NJ, roughly equivalent to felony charges in other states. The state divides indictable offense charges into four categories, listed here from least to most serious:
- Fourth-degree offense – Prison time of up to 18 months and up to $10,000 in fines. Few gun crimes fall into this category. Many crimes involving “other weapons,” like brass knuckles, knives, or illegal ammunition, fall into this category.
- Third-degree offense – Prison time of 3 to 5 years and fines of up to $15,000. Many crimes involving air or airsoft guns, pellet guns, and BB guns fall into this category.
- Second-degree offense – Five to 10 years in state prison and fines of up to $150,000. Many gun crimes fall into this category. Even if you’re a first-time offender, you can end up in jail for a second-degree gun offense.
- First degree offense – Prison time of 10 to 20 years and fines up to $200,000. Armed robbery, gun trafficking, or kidnapping when a gun is involved fall into this category.
Potential Penalties for Conviction on Gun Charges in Jersey City
New Jersey’s Graves Act requires someone convicted on gun charges or weapons offenses to serve a significant prison term. It mandates at least 42 months in prison for a second-degree gun crime offense, for example, before the individual is eligible for parole. Other New Jersey second-degree offenses may require the offender to serve only a third of their sentence before applying for parole.
In addition to years behind bars, conviction on New Jersey gun charges could include fines and court costs, plus a permanent criminal record. Criminal convictions may prevent you from getting certain jobs, finding housing, or even qualifying for federal financial aid for college.
Possible Defenses and Strategies for Dealing with Gun Charges
One of the more common defense strategies for someone charged with possessing a firearm is challenging the search that produced the firearm. One of the first things your attorney may do is closely examine how the police search was conducted and what sort of probable cause the police had to conduct the search.
Some challenges that could be used include:
- Challenging consent for the search – Did you know what you were consenting to? Were you legally able to consent to the search?
- Challenging a motor vehicle stop – If the firearm was discovered in your car during a police stop, did the officer have probable cause to stop you?
- Challenging a warrant – If the gun was found in a search conducted with a search warrant, was it in order? Was it properly served, and is it supported with sufficient probable cause?
- Were you transporting the gun to a firing range? – If so, we may use this as part of our defense.
Finally, we could negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced offense charge and, thus, a reduced penalty. For example, if your initial charge was a second-degree crime, we may negotiate to get it reduced to a third-degree crime.
How a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
Have you been charged with a gun crime in New Jersey? Our law firm wants to protect your freedom and defend your rights. Contact William Proetta Criminal Law today for a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney at our law offices.