Weapons and Firearms Lawyers
In New Jersey, a conviction for a weapons or firearms offense can carry with it very serious penalties including prison time. Depending on various factors that are unique to the facts of a particular case, weapons and firearms offenses can be charged as either a First, Second, Third, or Fourth Degree Crime.
There are two main categories of weapons offenses under New Jersey law:
- Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose – this offense is charged in those situations where an individual possesses a weapon (i.e. bat, knife, brass knuckles, etc.) or firearm with the purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another, such as in the commission of a criminal offense.
- Unlawful Possession of a Weapon – this offense is charged in those situations where an individual has no legal right to possess the weapon or firearm, such as a firearm that is illegal or one for which the individual does not have the permit or Firearms ID card that is required to lawfully possess the firearm.
The penalties for criminal offenses in New Jersey based on the degree of the offense are outlined below:
Felonies (Indictable Offenses):
- First Degree Crime: 10 to 20 years in prison and up to a $200,000 fine
- Second Degree Crime: 5 to 10 years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine
- Third Degree Crime: 3 to 5 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine
- Fourth Degree Crime: up to 18 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine
Misdemeanors (Disorderly Persons Offenses):
- Disorderly Persons Offense: up to 6 months in county jail and up to a $1000 fine
- Petty Disorderly Persons Offense: up to 30 days in county jail and up to a $500 fine
In addition to the penalties described above, there are additional penalty provisions that accompany certain firearm-related offenses pursuant to New Jersey’s so called “Graves Act.”
The New Jersey Graves Act under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c), requires the imposition of a minimum term of imprisonment and parole ineligibility for certain firearm offenses. If you are convicted of a firearm offense that falls under the Graves Act, the court must impose a sentence of imprisonment with a minimum term of parole ineligibility. The minimum term shall be fixed at one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or 42 months, whichever is greater, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible to be released on parole.
For example, if a person is convicted of the "Graves Act" offense of Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b), a crime of the second degree, the sentencing range is between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison with a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of between 42 months and 5 years.
Given the serious consequences that can result from a weapons or firearms conviction, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced attorney to defend you. The criminal defense attorneys at Hoffman DiMuzio have the knowledge and experience to defend those charged with the most serious of crimes, including weapons and firearms offenses. Depending on the facts of your particular case, we may be able to work toward having your charges dismissed by convincing the prosecutor that he or she can not prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
Additionally, even in those cases where the prosecution’s proofs are so strong that it would not be in a client’s best interest to take his or her case to trial and risk facing the maximum punishment prescribed by law, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Hoffman DiMuzio are frequently successful at getting the charges reduced while also helping clients avoid prison time.
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