Firearms Forfeiture Case in Monmouth County Won

Weapons Forfeiture Hearing Defense Lawyers Get Clients Guns Back in Freehold NJ

After more than a six month long battle, Keith Oliver Criminal Law was able to secure the return of our client’s weapons and firearms identification card in Monmouth County. Our client had his weapons, including various firearms and crossbows as well as his firearms identification card be seized by the Wall Township Police Department following the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order against him. Pursuant to New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act, if a temporary restraining order is imposed against an individual, the police must seize any and all weapons possessed by the Defendant. The weapons must remain seized until the temporary restraining order is litigated. If a Final Restraining Order is imposed then the Defendant will formally forfeit their right to the weapons as well as their firearms identification card. If this i to occur, they would have the ability to sell the weapons through an authorized firearms dealer.

With that being said, the prosecution could seek to file a motion to permanently forfeit a Defendant’s weapons regardless of whether a final restraining order is imposed or not. In order to do so, the prosecution will in essence be arguing that the Defendant suffers from one of the enumerated disqualifiers under NJSA 2C:58-3c, which states in pertinent part:

  • To any person who has been convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence … whether or not armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of such offense;
  • To any drug dependent person.., to any person who is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, or to any person who is presently an habitual drunkard;
  • To any person who suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him to handle firearms, to any person who has ever been confined for a mental disorder, or to any alcoholic unless any of the foregoing persons produces a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof, that he is no longer suffering from that particular disability in such a manner that would interfere with or handicap him in the handling of firearms; to any person who knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card;
  • To any person under the age of 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card and to any person under the age of 21 years for a permit to purchase a handgun;
  • To any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare;
  • To any person who is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” … prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm;
  • To any person who as a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device …; or
  • To any person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” … and whose firearm has not been returned.

The most common disqualifier is NJSA 2C:58-3c(5) {To any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare}. This is exactly what happened to our client. Not only was the underlying temporary restraining order dismissed but the domestic violence criminal harassment charge and domestic violence criminal mischief charge were dismissed as well in the Wall Municipal Court. Therefore, our client was not legally prohibited from possessing weapons or Firearms Identification Card. However, the prosecution elected to file a motion to seize his firearms and firearms identification card pursuant to NJSA 2C:58-3(c).

How to Defend a Weapons Forfeiture Motion in New Jersey

The motion to forfeit our client’s weapons and firearms identification card was filed based in large part on not so much the incident in question but the fact that the parties had filed numerous restraining orders and criminal charges against one another over the years. In fact, this was not the first time that the prosecution sought to forfeit our client’s weapons. Prior to the hearing, the prosecution filed a motion in limine seeking permission from the Court to unseal our client’s previous expunged cases and use them against him during the hearing. The introduction of this type of evidence into the hearing was going to be crucial to the prosecution ability to convince the Court it would not be in the public’s interest to allow the Defendant to possess weapons. So it was absolutely imperative that we aggressively defend the prosecutions motion and that is just what we did. After briefing the issue and having oral argument the Judge ultimately ruled in our favor and blocked the prosecution’s ability to use any of the prior expunged incidents against the Defendant. Following the Judge’s ruling, the prosecution agreed to withdraw their motion against the Defendant and he was able to have his weapons and firearms identification card returned. This was a huge outcome for our client. He has been an avid hunter his whole life and his right to bear arms was extremely important to him.

Consult with an Attorney Today Regarding a Domestic Violence Weapons Forfeiture Motion in NJ

Have your firearms and other weapons been seized in connection with a domestic violence case? Contact our team of attorneys today for immediate assistance. Keith Oliver Criminal Law is a Monmouth County based criminal defense firm that has been defending client’s charged with various weapon related offenses for more than a decade now. If you have unfortunately been charged with a crime like unlawful possession of a weapon or possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose or denied a firearms identification card in Monmouth County, we can help. Our office handles these types of cases throughout Monmouth County, including towns like Holmdel, Hazlet, Wall Township, Asbury Park, Freehold, Manalapan, Englishtown, Aberdeen and Ocean Township. If you would like to speak to one of our Monmouth County weapons defense lawyers today, please contact our Middletown office at 732.858.6959 or you can try contacting us online by clicking here. Weapons forfeiture motions are very fact specific and they require the assistance of an experienced weapons lawyer. That’s where we come in. Call now for a free consultation.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.