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Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Attorney in Middlesex County

Middlesex County NJ Unlawful Weapon Possession Lawyer

Gun Charges Defense Attorneys in Edison, New Jersey

New Jersey’s laws relating to the possession and carrying of weapons apply to state residents and non-residents alike. A non-resident in lawful possession of a rifle or shotgun in another state and who is traveling through the state of New Jersey must comply with New Jersey laws relating to the transporting of weapons. In fact, many of the cases that we handle involve out-of-state residents with legally owned firearms who, in ignorance of the law, brought them into New Jersey illegally. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not a valid defense and these charges are serious as well as complicated to litigate. An experienced weapons defense attorney will seek to mitigate these charges in order to result in a substantial downgrade or even a dismissal altogether. At William Proetta Criminal Law our lawyers have successfully defended against a wide array of crimes and charges in New Jersey, including unlawful possession of a weapon. From our offices in Edison, we represent clients iin New BrunswickWoodbridgePiscatawayPerth Amboy, and throughout Middlesex County. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation with an experienced Middlesex County weapons defense lawyer.

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Charges in New Jersey

Machine Guns – Any person who knowingly has in his possession a machine gun or instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun without being licensed is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

Handguns – Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including an antique handgun without first having obtained a permit to carry same is guilty of a crime of the second degree. However, if the gun is in the nature of an air gun or pellet pistol then the crime is of the third degree.

***A conviction for unlawful possession of a handgun is a Graves Act offense, effective January 13, 2008, and requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility.

Rifles and Shotguns – Any person who knowingly has in her possession any rifle or shotgun without first having obtained a firearms purchaser identification card is guilty of a crime of the third degree. The purchaser identification card also must be obtained to acquire a rifle or shotgun. The same card is used for both the acquisition and possession. In contrast, a permit to purchase is required to acquire a handgun, and a separate permit is required to carry the handgun.

“Weapon” – means anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury. This includes gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, or other dangerous knives, billies, blackjacks, bludgeons, metal knuckles, sandclubs, slingshots, cestis or similar leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, stun guns and any other weapon which projects, releases or emits tear gas or any other substance intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air.

Other Prohibited Weapons – It is a fourth degree crime to possess any weapon without a lawful purpose.

Weapons on School Property – Irrespective of whether the defendant has a permit to carry a firearm or a valid firearm purchaser identification card, it is a crime of the third degree to possess a firearm in or upon any part of the building or grounds of any school, college, or university dormitory room and it could be a disorderly persons offense to even possess an imitation firearm. It is a fourth degree crime to knowingly possess any other weapon on school grounds.

Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in New Jersey

Claim of Self Defense – This is a valid defense to a charge of possession of a weapon without a permit only in those rare and momentary circumstances where an individual arms himself spontaneously to meet an immediate danger. This defense is not applicable when a person arms himself prior to a danger becoming imminent.

The Graves Act enumerates certain weapons, which, upon proof of possession, become a crime punishable by a mandatory state prison term with parole ineligibility. Such weapons include the unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of a defaced firearm, unlawful possession of a machine gun, unlawful possession of a handgun, and unlawful possession of rifles and shotguns. With the exception of unlawful possession of a handgun or machine gun, these offenses are third and fourth degree crimes. However, due to the fact that they fall under the Graves Act, defendants in these matters no longer have the presumption of non-incarceration as first time offenders. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help to navigate the pitfalls of the court system and state’s prosecution. For instance, depending upon the facts of the case at hand and under certain circumstances our lawyers can petition the County Prosecutor to waive the Graves Act. This would result in the avoidance of mandatory incarceration altogether.

Contact a New Brunswick NJ Illegally Owned Firearm Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

Our lawyers represent clients throughout Middlesex County who face charges for unlawful possession of a gun or weapon, including Middlesex BoroCranburyHighland ParkSouth PlainfieldOld BridgeHighland ParkSayrevilleMetuchenEast Brunswick, and South Amboy. To learn more about potential representation or to build a case strategy customized to the facts of your case, contact us today at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation with an experienced Middlesex County gun charges lawyer.