Caught with a Gun in Your Possession in New Jersey
Experienced Gun Crime Defense Lawyer in NJ
New Jersey gun laws are among the toughest in the nation. With recent changes, penalties for possession have been upgraded to a Graves Act offense, punishable as a second-degree crime.
What that means is if you cross the border, and you’re carrying a firearm that isn’t licensed in New Jersey, regardless of its legal status in another state, you face a minimum of a five-year prison sentence with eligibility for parole after three years.
New Jersey criminal defense attorney Anthony J. Vecchio can help you understand your options if you’ve been charged with a firearms violation. Time is of the essence. Contact (800) 418-8578 to arrange a free initial consultation at one of five New Jersey locations.
Five Categories of Possible New Jersey Firearms Offenses
You may not realize that you’ve broken a law. However, the complexity of New Jersey’s firearms laws designates five categories in which you could be charged for owning or possessing a firearm.
- Possessing a firearm without a permit: As stated above, you may be charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 for illegal possession simply by driving through the state with a firearm not licensed in New Jersey.
- Possessing an illegal firearm. N.J.S.A 2C:39-9 outlines the certain types of firearms that are illegal to possess under New Jersey law. This includes one with the serial number removed, a sawed-off shotgun, and a silencer.
- Certain persons excluded from possessing weapons: According to New Jersey Statute N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7 certain individuals are prohibited from owning a firearm. That includes those who’ve been convicted of a violent crime or who’ve previously been committed to a mental institution.
- Possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. Whether or not you used the firearm, you may be charged with a separate crime for possession if you had it on you while committing a crime.
- Possessing a firearm for unlawful purposes: Under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 you could face a charge of intent to use the firearm while planning another crime, such as armed robbery, even if you did not actually carry out the robbery.
It is critical to seek the counsel of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges for firearms possession or ownership. The Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio is committed to defending your rights against aggressive state prosecution.
The Possible Consequences of a New Jersey Firearms Conviction
Working with a New Jersey lawyer who understands and can clearly explain the potential consequences of a firearms charge is a critical component in helping clients realize their options.
The consequences you face depend on the crime and circumstances surrounding the case. Additionally, if convicted of a Graves Act violation, it requires a minimum of a three-year mandatory prison term before parole eligibility.
Following are the four degrees of New Jersey firearms offenses:
- The most serious charges are first-degree crimes, which carry a 10 to 20-year prison sentence.
- Many firearms charges, including possession of a handgun without a license, fall into the second-degree crime category. They are punishable by a five to 10-year prison term. They also carry a minimum requirement of serving three years before eligible for parole.
- A third-degree firearms charge includes possession of a shotgun or rifle without the required license. Such crimes may be punishable by a prison term of three to five years.
- Possessing a silencer is one example of a fourth-degree crime category. It carries a punishment of up to 18 months in prison.
The courts can also impose stiff fines in addition to prison sentences. For instance, you could be required to pay as much as $150,000 for a second-degree New Jersey firearms violation.
Defending a New Jersey Firearms Charge
New Jersey’s firearm laws are stringent, it’s imperative to hire an attorney who is experienced in representing clients’ best interests.
Anthony Vecchio has a proven track record of performing an exhaustive investigation into the circumstances surrounding each case and challenging the prosecution’s evidence. What may appear unquestionably clear at the outset is not always so cut and dried as discovery progresses.
If the prosecution fails to prove that you owned or were in possession of the firearm, for example, the charges should be dropped.
In another scenario, the defense may move to suppress evidence that was obtained without the required warrant. If law enforcement fails to prove they had a legal right to search you, the evidence gathered is inadmissible.
Challenging a motor vehicle search, for instance, could provide grounds for suppression of evidence. Was there probable cause for the search? Was the driver informed of his or her right to refuse, it’s invalid.
A New Jersey firearms attorney who’s established a working relationship with the prosecution and judges, and who is committed to defending your constitutional rights may be able to reduce your sentence through plea negotiations.
Even with the mandatory minimum sentences imposed by the Graves Act, it’s still possible to avoid jail time. Pre-trial intervention (PTI), probation, and a Graves Waiver are options that could be negotiated with the prosecution under certain circumstances.
Hiring a New Jersey Firearms Attorney that Will Represent Your Best Interests
Anthony Vecchio has successfully defended, prosecuted, and appealed cases in the New Jersey court systems since 2009. The firm provides effective personalized service for individuals facing a variety of legal challenges.
Whether defending the rights of victims of accidents and crimes or those accused of a DWI or other criminal offenses, I am dedicated to representing your best interests in a court of law.
Being convicted of a serious crime like a firearms offense can have far-reaching negative consequences. Choose to work with an attorney who recognizes the challenges you face and is proactive in building your defense.
You want an experienced firearms defense lawyer who is passionate about upholding your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio LLC by calling (800) 418-8578 to arrange a free initial consultation at one of our five New Jersey locations.