Degrees of Crimes in Gun Cases New Jersey

Gun Charge Defense Lawyers with offices in Hackensack, Morristown, Newark NJ

Degree of Crime NJ gun arrest Lawyers
What’s the Degree of my gun charge NJ?

Degrees of Crimes in NJ Gun Cases: If you or a loved one is facing an illegal weapons offense in New Jersey including unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, or even BB Gun possession, the firearms defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC can help. Our attorneys have been successfully handling gun cases in New Jersey for many years including in Bergen County (Hackensack), Morris County (Morristown), and Essex County (Newark). In fact, our managing partner, Mr. Travis J. Tormey, was recently recognized as one of the top 10 criminal lawyers in the State of New Jersey. In addition, several other members of the firm used to prosecute gun cases for the State of NJ and now use their experience and expertise to defend our clients charged with these same offenses. Contact our offices anytime for immediate assistance at (201)-614-2474. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.

Here is a review from one of our law firm’s firearms offense cases:

“Worth every penny. Words can not express how pleased I was with my decision to retain Christopher Perry. I had never had any legal issues in the past and had no idea how to proceed. Mr. Perry explained every step with patience and attention to detail, his knowledge and professionalism immediately eased my anxiety. He was attentive and answered every one of my questions immediately to the fullest extent of his abilities. The outcome of my case was ideal and I firmly believe it was entirely due to having Mr. Perry as my attorney. I HIGHLY recommend him to anyone who may find themselves in need of his services and would not hesitate to use him in the future. Words can not express how impressed I was with his services through the entire 9 month process. Look no further you have found your attorney.”


Degrees of Crimes in NJ Gun Cases: N.J.S.A. 2C: 43-1

New Jersey divides their indictable (felony) level offenses into four categories under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1:

  • First degree crimes: Punishable by 10-20 years in prison with a presumption of incarceration. Under the Graves Act for weapons offenses, there must be a period of parole ineligibility if convicted of a first degree crime in NJ. Some crimes which involve weapons which are first degree offenses would be armed robbery, kidnapping, or gun trafficking.
  • Second degree crimes: Punishable by 5-10 years in prison with a presumption of incarceration (even for first time offenders). Most gun offenses in New Jersey are second degree crimes and the typical plea offers are 5 years in NJ state prison, 42 months to be served without the possibility of parole. Illegal handgun/machine gun/assault rifle possession, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, etc. are all second degree offenses.
  • Third degree crimes: Punishable by 3-5 years in prison with a presumption of non-incarceration for first time offenders. Most third degree offenses are BB Gun, airsoft gun, air gun, and pellet gun style offenses.
  • Fourth degree crimes: Punishable by up to 18 months in prison with a presumption of non-incarceration for first time offenders. This is the lowest level felony we have in New Jersey. Most gun offenses cannot fall in this category, aside from a select few such as imitation firearms and violating an extreme risk protective order. It is also reserved for “other weapons” offenses besides guns, such as illegal ammunition, knives, brass knuckles, baseball bats, etc.

Notably, for a first degree gun charge involving firearms trafficking, you may face federal charges in addition to state criminal charges. High-level crimes with heavy penalties in New Jersey involving interstate commerce or offenses crossing state lines may also result in prosecution for federal felonies. Felony gun crimes typically involve guns and crossing state borders or illegally possessing firearms on federal property. Federal felony sentences for gun crimes are also steep. 

Can a Gun Charge Have Different Degrees based on the Circumstances?

Yes, and this occurs for many different types of gun charges in New Jersey. For example, a certain persons offense based on a previous disorderly persons offense for domestic offense is a third degree crime if it involves a firearm, while a typical certain persons offense based on a prior felony conviction for a crime enumerated in the statute is a second degree crime when a gun leads to the certain persons charges. In addition, a second degree crime applies to unlawful possession of a weapon involving handguns, while a third degree crime applies to the same offense if it involves a BB gun or air gun. And for certain guns like rifles and shotguns, one type of gun charge may be classified as one degree, while a different type of gun offense is classified as a different degree. By way of example, a rifle will lead to a third degree crime if the offense is illegal possession. On the other hand, a rifle will lead to a second degree crime if the weapon is possessed for an unlawful purpose.

The distinctions between these charges are incredibly impactful when determining the potential sentencing exposure for the defendant, as well as any mandatory minimum sentencing requirements that apply, the application of the Graves Act to the case, and the defendant’s potential eligibility for an alternative sentence like probation or Pre-Trial Intervention Program admission.

Contact our Essex County NJ Gun Lawyers Now for a Free Consultation

For more information regarding weapons offenses in New Jersey, contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation at (201)-614-2474.