Criminal charges involving guns and other weapons can carry severe penalties. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we have a long track record of successfully defending people who have been charged with weapons offenses. Our New Jersey gun defense lawyers have extensive experience in these types of criminal cases, and we will put the full force of our firm behind you.
Contact us at any time to speak with a New Jersey gun defense attorney for free. We will go over the charges you are facing and outline all the ways our team can fight for you.
Understanding New Jersey Weapons Laws
The first category of gun laws in New Jersey concerns how guns are bought, sold, and registered. Anyone wishing to purchase a handgun in New Jersey must be at least 21 years old, though for all other types of guns, the minimum age is 18. Additionally, you must register with the state if you wish to carry a handgun in public. You’ll need to file an application with the New Jersey Superior Court, attend a court hearing, and prove that you have a need to carry the gun in public and that you know how to handle a gun safely.
While most New Jersey residents are allowed to apply for a gun license without any issues, state law bars certain individuals from being allowed to carry a gun. Some examples of people who are barred from carrying guns in New Jersey include:
- People who are the subject of a restraining order
- People who have been convicted of domestic violence
- People who are considered to be “drug dependent”
- People with certain criminal convictions in their past
The other main category of New Jersey gun laws concerns illegal possession of a firearm. It’s important to know that you can face an illegal possession charge in New Jersey even if you have not used a gun to commit a crime. Depending on your prior criminal history and other factors, illegally possessing a gun in New Jersey can be a fourth-degree, third-degree, or second-degree offense, punishable by anywhere from five to 20 years in prison.
The final type of gun laws in New Jersey concerns guns being used while committing another crime. Using a weapon while committing a crime will usually lead to harsher penalties if you’re convicted.
No matter what type of weapons charges you are facing, you need to speak with a defense lawyer immediately. Contact Keith Oliver Criminal Law for a free review of your case today.
Our Law Firm Helps with All Types of Weapons Charges
Our New Jersey gun defense attorneys have experience helping defendants facing a wide range of weapons charges. Some of the gun crimes we are able to help with include:
- Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose – If you use a gun to threaten someone or for some other illegal reason, you can be charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, even if you obtained the gun legally.
- Unlawful possession of a weapon – Certain people are not allowed to buy guns in New Jersey, often because of their age or prior criminal history. If you have been barred from possessing a gun under state law, you can be charged with a crime if you’re found with a gun in your possession.
- Possessing a weapon without a permit – If you are legally allowed to buy a gun but have not properly registered it with the state, you can be charged with a crime. This often happens to out-of-state visitors who do not have their guns properly stored according to state law.
- Possessing a weapon during the commission of a crime – Using a gun while committing a crime can be charged as an additional offense, which could lead to additional penalties if you’re convicted.
- Assault with a deadly weapon – Assault with a deadly weapon is a form of aggravated assault under New Jersey law. It’s important to know that you can be charged with assault for threatening to injure someone with a deadly weapon, even if you did not actually injure anyone. When a gun is involved, assault with a deadly weapon can be charged as a second-degree crime, and the potential penalties include lengthy prison terms.
- Brandishing a weapon – Simply pointing a gun at someone with disregard for their safety can be considered a crime under New Jersey law.
- Firearms and weapons trafficking – Selling guns or other deadly weapons without the proper permits is a major offense in New Jersey. It can be charged as a first-degree offense, which is the most severe type of crime under state law and can lead to a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
How a New Jersey Gun Defense Attorney Can Help You
If you’re facing a weapons charge in New Jersey, here’s how our gun defense attorneys can help with your case:
- Explaining the charges against you and the potential penalties you may be facing so you can make educated decisions about your defense
- Examining the evidence against you and identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
- Filing motions to suppress any evidence obtained through an illegal search or seizure
- Protecting you from abusive practices by police or prosecutors that violate your rights
- Arguing for charges to be reduced or dropped whenever possible
- Working out a plea deal to reduce the potential penalties you may face
- Preparing a strong defense on your behalf should your case go to trial
Common Defenses to Gun Charges
Being charged with a weapons crime in New Jersey is a scary experience. But there are many ways a skilled defense attorney can help you fight these charges. Some common defenses to gun charges in New Jersey include:
- Showing you did not possess the gun in question – For crimes involving illegally possessing a weapon or using a weapon while committing a crime, the prosecution generally has to show that you had the weapon in your possession. If you can show that you were not in possession of the gun in question, you may be able to have the charges against you dropped.
- Suppressing evidence obtained illegally – Police must follow certain rules when it comes to obtaining evidence in criminal cases. If the evidence against you was obtained illegally, your lawyer can seek to have the evidence suppressed, which may lead to the charges against you being dropped.
- Showing you used the gun in self-defense – Depending on what crimes you have been charged with, you may be able to argue that you used a gun in self-defense. This defense can work for charges like brandishing a weapon or assault, though it’s less effective against charges like illegally possessing a weapon.
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we will examine your case from every angle and launch an aggressive defense on your behalf.
Penalties for a Weapons Conviction in New Jersey
If you’ve been charged with a weapons crime in New Jersey, the severity of the alleged offense plays a key role in what potential penalties you may receive. Here’s a rough breakdown of the potential penalties for various degrees of weapons charges in New Jersey:
- First-degree offense – First-degree indictable crimes (known as felonies) are the most serious category of offense under New Jersey law. Potential penalties include 10 to 20 years in prison, along with fines, and you may be denied eligibility for parole.
- Second-degree offense – Second-degree crimes are considered less serious than first-degree offenses, though the penalties are still substantial. You could face five to 10 years in prison for a second-degree gun charge. You will also have to serve at least three years of your sentence before you are eligible for parole.
- Third-degree offense – Third-degree weapons crimes are punishable by three to five years in prison.
- Fourth-degree offense – Fourth-degree offenses are the least serious type of indictable crimes in New Jersey, with potential penalties including up to 18 months in prison.
- Disorderly persons offense – Disorderly persons offenses are roughly equivalent to misdemeanors, and the potential penalties include six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Petty disorderly persons offense – These are a less serious type of disorderly persons offense, and the potential penalties include 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Weapons Charges FAQs
Here are a couple of the most frequent questions we receive about gun charges in New Jersey:
Certain types of weapons are outright banned under New Jersey law, and merely possessing them can be a crime. These illegal firearms include machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and explosive devices. Certain types of firearms accessories are also banned in New Jersey, such as silencers, stun guns, and body armor for penetrating bullets.
People who are not allowed to buy guns in New Jersey include anyone convicted of domestic violence, anyone who is subject to a domestic violence restraining order, anyone convicted of a violent crime, and anyone convicted of a drug crime above the level of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense.