Ocean County NJ Imitation Firearm Possession Lawyers
New Jersey has strict gun laws regulating everything related to weapons. The state governance includes such topics as who can own a gun and what type of firearm a person can own or possess. The laws even go so far as to make it a crime to possess an imitation firearm under certain circumstances. New Jersey laws pertaining to weapons are best understood by legal practitioners who regularly appear and defend guns and weapons cases in criminal courts. At Proetta & Oliver, our experienced gun attorneys actively defend clients arrested and charged with crimes for firearms of all kinds in Ocean County, NJ, including in Jackson, Toms River, Brick, Manchester, Berkeley, Seaside Heights, and Point Pleasant. You can familiarize yourself with what it means to be charged with a fake gun related offense in New Jersey by reading the information below. If you would like to speak with one of our Ocean County weapons lawyers free of charge, simply contact our office at (848)-238-2100 for assistance.
What is an imitation firearm under NJ Law?
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(v), an imitation firearm is essentially any object that can be perceived as, or mistaken for, a firearm. Imitation firearms have included toy guns, plastic guns, props, replicas, wooden objects, as well as any other fashioned material that can be mistaken for a gun by the observer. Clearly, the definition of an imitation firearm is vague and possibly overly broad. In an attempt to limit the breadth of things meeting this definition, the law requires the state to prove that you had knowledge of the circumstances and that it was your intention to commit an offense with the item in question.
Imitation Firearms Charges in New Jersey
Possessing any weapon for an unlawful purpose, including an imitation firearm, is a crime violating N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4. This statute authorizes the police and prosecutors to charge individuals with crimes under many circumstances. Subsection (e) governs the charging of a complaint for possessing an imitation firearm. Specifically, it is an offense for anyone to possess an imitation firearm while involving themself in activity that leads an onlooker to believe that they possessed the weapon for an unlawful purpose. The witness’s belief must be reasonable and can be ascertained by testimony and circumstances surrounding the offense. More importantly, the accused must be proven to have known that his conduct would cause another to believe that he had an imitation gun for an unlawful reason.
For instance, holding a fake gun in your hand while demanding money would clearly be deemed an unlawful purpose. Conversely, a person who is carrying a toy gun in their yard or playing with friends cannot necessarily be said to have an unlawful purpose. Imitation firearms used in situations instilling fear in another, whether it is to recover money, obtain drugs, or for the purposes of making threats, is what the law seeks to punish. These situations are usually readily identifiable, but sometimes, onlookers have a mistaken belief as to what is happening. This may be because they have come to observe the acts or situation at the last minute. In other words, they may have only seen an event at the tail end and could have misinterpreted your intent.
Penalties for those Charged with Imitation Firearms Crimes in NJ
A possessing imitation firearms for unlawful purposes offense is the lowest level indictable crime under NJ law, namely a fourth degree. Nonetheless, for this fourth degree felony, you face prison time. All fourth degree crimes can be punished by state prison for at least one year, with a maximum sentence of 18 months. When sentenced to probation instead of jail, the probationary period can be as much as five years and it can require some time in the county jail as well. In fact, as much as 364 days can be spent in the Ocean County Jail. The crime further allows for the court to assess fines up to $10,000.
Fortunately, for those without a criminal record or a very minor criminal history, the likelihood of obtaining a probationary sentence is high. This is unless, you are charged with a companion crime requiring state prison, such as robbery or second degree aggravated assault. Some defendants may even be approved for PTI and have the charges dismissed without ever having to deal with a criminal conviction. This can be very important involving cases for persons who can suffer immigration consequences if pleading guilty or found guilty.
Call Toms River Fake Gun Defense Attorneys Today
Achieving results such as a dismissal, probation, or Pre-Trial Intervention is not easy and it is unadvisable to attempt this on your own. Our experienced gun defense lawyers advocate for clients in the criminal setting, not only having a goal in mind, but prepared with a roadmap of how it may be achieved. We work tirelessly to reach the most beneficial outcome for our clients charged with weapons offenses, whether it is probation, PTI, or even dismissal after litigating the case. After all, this is about you, your livelihood, and your future and you should be afforded the best possible legal representation. If you are facing charges for imitation or real firearms, take the first step in gaining some control over the situation by consulting with a lawyer who serves all of Ocean County, including Lacey, Stafford, Lakehurst, Ocean Township, and Long Beach Island. Call (848)-238-2100 for a free consultation 24/7.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.