Ocean County NJ Weapons Offense Lawyer
It it is no secret that the state of New Jersey is extremely tough on those facing gun and weapons charges. In fact, when it comes to weapons and firearms, NJ is one of the most restrictive states in the entire nation. Due to the political climate regarding weapons, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors are very aggressive in their efforts to enforce penalties and reduce gun crimes. The New Jersey State Legislature has deemed the reduction of weapons-related crimes a top priority. As a result, laws including the Graves Act and the No Early Release Act (NERA), which includes mandatory minimum prison sentences and parole ineligibility if the crime involved violence, have been put into effect. If you or a loved one is facing gun or weapons charges in Ocean County, it is imperative that you enlist knowledgeable and experienced legal representation. At Proetta & Oliver, our Ocean County weapons defense attorneys fight aggressively on behalf of clients charged with weapons offenses in Brick, Toms River, Lakewood, Manchester, Lacey Township, Jackson Township, and throughout Ocean County. For additional information and a cost-free consultation, contact our offices in Point Pleasant at (848) 238-2100.
Defense Attorneys for Gun and Weapons Charges in Toms River, New Jersey
Ocean County, NJ weapons offense attorneys at our firm have extensive experience when it comes to handling gun and weapons charges. Our law firm provides aggressive criminal defense services geared toward obtaining the best possible outcomes. We pursue all available opportunities for an acquittal, dismissal or reduction of your weapons charges. Initially, we will seek to work with the prosecutor to reduce your charges. If it becomes apparent that litigation is necessary we will readily and aggressively protect your rights in trial. Our highly capable lawyers zealously defend clients charged with weapons crimes for:
- Unlawful possession of a weapon: It is against the law to possess a handgun without a valid permit or firearms ID card. Before purchasing a gun, you must obtain a permit and register the weapon and your ownership with the state. Additionally, some types of weapons such as sawed-off shotguns, silencers, and defaced firearms are always illegal in New Jersey, so you can never own them under any circumstances.
- Possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose: If you are accused of using a weapon during the commission of a crime, you could face charges not only for the underlying offense but also for the act of possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Keep in mind that this charge doesn’t just apply to guns; you can face this kind of weapons charge if you commit a crime or plan to commit a crime while using any object deemed to be a dangerous weapon, such as a knife, baseball bat, or brass knuckles.
- BB guns and airsoft and paintball guns
- Imitation firearms: NJ weapons laws also apply to imitation or replica firearms. Although merely possessing an imitation handgun is not a crime, you could still face felony gun crime charges that carry significant prison time if you are arrested for possessing or using any object or device that might be mistaken for a firearm in a way that could create fear. For instance, you can’t flash a replica gun at someone in an attempt to frighten them into giving you money; doing so would expose you to a number of criminal charges, including possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose.
- Certain persons not allowed to have weapons: While most people are allowed by law to possess a handgun so long as they obtain a permit to do so, certain individuals are prohibited from ever owning a firearm in New Jersey. Generally speaking, anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime or other serious felony is legally barred from owning or possessing a firearm in NJ. Additionally, an individual who has previously been committed to a mental hospital or other type of mental health facility may also be prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Often, our clients are charged with weapons offenses that seem like minor mistakes, when in reality they can carry severe penalties. For example, a client who lives outside of New Jersey and purchases a gun before moving to NJ could be prosecuted for unlawful possession of a weapon upon entry into the state without filing the necessary paperwork and attaining requisite licensing. Additionally, clients who have been pulled over for a traffic offense while driving through the state could also face mandatory jail time if they are found with a gun that has not been registered in New Jersey.
The consequences of a conviction for a weapons offense are severe and include incarceration, probation, and a criminal record. Once your record demonstrates a conviction on a weapons crime, future consequences will arise that will include trouble with employment background checks, securing housing or loans, professional licensing, and diminished educational opportunities. And if your case involves a firearm, the harsh sentencing requirements of the Graves Act apply, which makes a bad situation significantly worse if you are found guilty.
What Happens when a Weapon is used to Commit Another Crime?
When an individual commits a crime, there is a very good chance that they will be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. However, if an individual commits a crime while using a weapon, it is very likely that they will be charged with two crimes: the original offense and a weapons offense. That’s because it is against the law in New Jersey to possess a firearm or other weapon for unlawful purposes. This helps to explain why the penalties are so much stiffer for a defendant convicted of armed robbery than they are for a defendant merely convicted of robbery. Similarly, if you are accused of using a weapon to violently assault someone, you can expect to be charged with both aggravated assault and a weapons offense. In fact, even pointing a firearm at someone can lead to felony charges for aggravated assault in New Jersey, and the consequences worsen if the supposed subject of the pointing is a member of law enforcement.
While possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose is probably the most common combination of charges in gun crime cases, it is also common for prosecutors to bring heightened charges against individuals who are accused of using or possessing a firearm or other weapon during the commission of a drug crime. In fact, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4.1 specifically addresses weapons offenses committed in connection with a violation of controlled dangerous substance (CDS) laws. The statute stipulates that these unique offenses will result in enhanced second degree charges, meaning that the defendant will be subject to up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Contact a Jackson NJ Weapons Charges Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon or another weapons offense in Ocean County, our weapons defense attorneys are available immediately to assist you. We offer free initial consultations and night and weekend appointments are readily available upon request. Schedule an appointment to speak with an experienced Ocean County weapons offense lawyer about your case. Call (848) 238-2100 or contact us online here. Our office is centrally located in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.