Unlawful Possession of a Weapon New Jersey

“Unlawful possession of a weapon in New Jersey usually relates to possession of a gun without a proper permit. This is typically a second degree charge punishable by 5-10 years in jail, and, a mandatory period of parole ineligibility under the Graves Act. However, a seasoned firearms lawyer in New Jersey can fight to keep you out of jail and keep this serious felony charge off your record.”

Arrested Unlawful Possession of Weapon NJ Help Best Defense
Unlawful Possession of Weapon

Do you need a lawyer for an unlawful possession of a weapon charge in New Jersey? You’ve come to the right place.

The firearms defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC represent clients facing illegal weapons offenses, including unlawful possession of a weapon throughout the State of New Jersey. In fact, the firm has offices located throughout New Jersey including in Hackensack, Morristown, and Newark. Our trial team is composed of experienced criminal defense lawyers including former firearms prosecutors who now use their experience to defend our clients charged with weapons offenses. If you or a loved one is facing a weapons charge in NJ, you’ve come to the right place. Contact the Tormey Law Firm immediately for a free initial consultation at (201)-614-2474.

Here is a review from one of the many satisfied clients of the Tormey Law Firm LLC:

“I was extremely happy with the performance, support and professionalism of Travis Tormey in my son’s recent court case. Before we even hired him he consulted with us via telephone and spent a considerable amount of time answering our questions and giving us additional information. Once hired, he was truthful at all times at what my son was up against. Travis truly worked to secure what was in my son’s best interest. He got charges reduced and fines lessened. I have gone on to recommend Travis to 2 other friends who have been just as happy with him.” 5 stars – Ellen

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5

The criminal statute governing charges for unlawful possession of a weapon in New Jersey is N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. Section (a) governs weapons offenses for machine guns which is a second degree offense punishable by 5-10 years in New Jersey State prison if convicted. Section (b) covers handguns which is a third degree offense for BB guns and airsoft guns, otherwise it’s a second degree crime.

NOTE: The difference between a second degree offense and a third degree offense is significant. A second degree crime is punishable by 5-10 years in jail with a presumption of imprisonment even if you have no prior record. A third degree offense, on the other hand, is punishable by 3-5 years in jail but there is a presumption against incarceration for first-time offenders.

Section (c) governs rifles or shotguns which are generally third degree offenses.

Section (d) governs “other weapons,” which are fourth degree crimes punishable by up to 18 months in jail. Other weapons may encompass baseball bats, brass knuckles, knives, or any other items that the State believes had were being possessed as “weapons.”

Section (f) governs assault weapons which are generally second degree offenses.

NOTE: All firearms offenses in New Jersey are governed by the Graves Act which requires mandatory jail time and parole ineligibility if convicted of these offenses. The typical plea offer on a unlawful gun charge (even if the person has no prior record) is 5 years in prison, 3 years to be served before the possibility of parole.

NOTE: Firearms ID cards merely allow you to purchase and/or own a weapon legally in New Jersey. They do not allow you to carry the weapon, which requires a handgun carry permit. 

Challenging a Gun Charge in New Jersey

There are a number of ways to fight an unlawful possession of a weapon charge in New Jersey including challenging the search. If the gun was found in your car, and the police illegally searched the vehicle without a warrant and without your legal consent, the gun can be suppressed and thrown out of court on a motion. We did exactly that for a client recently in Hudson County Superior Court where the case was completely dismissed.

The State must also provide an operability report on the weapon proving that it fires and that is actually qualifies as a firearm in New Jersey.

In addition to that, if you have no prior record, you may be eligible for a Graves Act waiver to avoid the mandatory jail time and parole ineligibility. In certain cases, we can apply you to the Pre-Trial Intervention program (known as “PTI”) which will allow you to stay out of jail and even keep the felony charge off of your record.

Traveling Through the State with Your Legally Purchased Weapon

Many of these 2nd degree unlawful possession of a handgun charges are incidents where out of State residents are traveling through the State of New Jersey with a legally purchased weapon from their home state but they are not doing so legally in New Jersey. To legally travel through the State, you are supposed to have your gun secured in the trunk of your vehicle in a locked gun case separate from the ammunition. If you are traveling in this matter, you should not be charged with anything.

However, in many cases, people are unaware of New Jersey laws and do not have their weapon legally secured in the trunk. In these cases, our clients are charged with a 2nd degree gun possession offense and are facing 5-10 years in prison, even if they have no prior record.

In these cases, we typically submit a compelling reasons package in writing to the prosecutor asking for a Graves Act waiver and admission into the PTI program. This package usually includes legal purchase of the weapon, a gun permit from their home state(if applicable), character references, proof of employment, and proof of travel plans as to why they were traveling through the State of New Jersey.

Luckily, we have been very successful in getting clients into PTI who are facing these serious charges in this scenario.

Charged with Unlawful Possession of Weapon in New Jersey? We can help

For additional information or immediate assistance, contact the Tormey Law Firm at (201)-614-2474. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.