Unlawful Possession of a Weapon

Passaic County Handgun Possession Defense Lawyers

Were you arrested for possessing a handgun, shotgun, imitation firearm, or an illegal weapon? If you have been charged with the offense that is known as unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon, you are exposed to significant penalties and the real possibility of going to jail. The key to avoiding a negative outcome in a handgun case is not only the facts of your case but the lawyer crafting and presenting your defense. The attorneys at our firm are highly experienced and skilled in defending unlawful possession of a weapon charges. We feature multiple former county prosecutors and a team of lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience handling handgun charges. Give us a call anytime and we would be happy to evaluate your unlawful possession case.

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

The criminal charge for unlawful possession of a weapon in New Jersey is set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, which covers the following offenses:

a. Machine guns. Any person who knowingly has in his or her possession a machine gun or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without being licensed to do so, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
b. Handguns. Any person who knowingly has in his or her possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
c. Rifles and shotguns.
(1) Any person who knowingly has in his or her possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
(2) Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his or her possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
d. Other weapons. Any person who knowingly has in his or her possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
e. Firearms or other weapons in educational institutions.
(1) Any person who knowingly has in his or her possession any firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, is guilty of a crime of the third degree, irrespective of whether he or she possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card.
(3) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any imitation firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, or while on any school bus is a disorderly person, irrespective of whether he possesses a valid permit to carry a firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card.
f. Assault firearms. Any person who knowingly has in his possession an assault firearm is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

The Graves Act – N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6. The Graves Act governs certain weapons and firearms charges in New Jersey, providing enhanced penalties for illegal gun offenses. Enumerated in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6, the Graves Act provides, in pertinent part, that:

a. Except as otherwise provided, a person who has been convicted of a crime may be sentenced to imprisonment, as follows:
(1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;
(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;
(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;
(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.

Although N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 sets forth a number of possible penalties for a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon, making a distinction between the type of weapon possessed and the degree of the offense involved. In addition, the Graves Act provides for mandatory imprisonment and a period of parole ineligibilty whenever someone is convicted of an illegal handgun offense. Under the Graves Act, many offenders convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm face even harsher penalties, including a minimum mandatory sentence of five (5) years in state prison even when the offender has no prior criminal record.

At the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, we understand the ins and outs of the law and exactly what is involved in defending charges brought under 2C:39-5 for an illegal handgun or other weapon. Our attorneys work vigorously to defend these cases and are ready to put their knowledge and skills to work for you. An attorney is available now, so give us a call.