How Much is A Gun Charge in New Jersey?

Gun Charge in New Jersey
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States and the federal government often allow for a greater penalty after conviction if a gun or perhaps weaponry is employed in executing a felony compared to a crime done without a weapon. Under some circumstances, it is illegal in New Jersey to simply have a weapon in your possession.

Anybody in New Jersey accused of a firearms violation should get skilled legal counsel immediately. To help you avoid jail time and/or hefty penalties, you can try to find a gun offense lawyer in New Jersey with expertise in firearms accusations.

What is Illegal Ownership of a Weapon?

A person may be charged with unlawful ownership in New Jersey if they “knowingly hold in [their] custody a firearm under conditions not acceptable for legal use” (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5). By this law, anybody detained carrying a weapon at Newark Airport is subject to prosecution.

The following conditions must be followed, according to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, to constitute a violation:

  • There had to be a weapon.
  • The convicted must also have owned that weapon, and they must have known what kind of weapon it was and how it worked, i.e., what the weapon was and how exactly it could be utilized.
  • The situation made it clear that the item wasn’t clearly suitable for legal usage.

What are Situations Clearly Not Acceptable for Legal Use?

Threats of violence to people or destruction of property are situations that are clearly inappropriate for legitimate usage. An illustration of this would have a bb gun with the intent to shoot it at an automobile.

It is obvious that a paintball gun may be owned for authorized purposes, but when it is utilized improperly, it is considered to be under “situations not plainly suited for lawful usage.” Generally speaking, this condition will be satisfied if the use was prohibited given the situation.

Start working with criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall immediately to get the criminal charges brought against you reduced, dropped, or postponed. 

Fines and Penalties

The following are the charges and punishments for simple weapons violations (excluding counts for violence, theft, etc. with a dangerous weapon):

Five to ten years in jail and a penalty of up to $150k for a second-degree crime.

Three to five years in jail and a penalty of up to $15k are the penalties for a third-degree crime.

Fourth-degree crime: Up to between Eighteen months in jail and a $10k penalty. 

If you are accused of possessing a firearm in New Jersey, you will need knowledgeable legal counsel to reduce the likelihood that you will serve a lengthy jail sentence as well as the frequently imposed hefty penalties.

The consequences for a variety of specific accusations and offenses using guns might vary. All crimes involving firearms are punishable by an indictment.

  • Unauthorized Possession. As was already stated, this refers to individuals who are discovered in the custody of a weapon while the situation clearly does not call for one.
  • Unauthorized ownership of a weapon, everything from pistols, fully automatic weapons, shotguns, and long guns, is a third-degree offense that carries a jail sentence of three to five years.
  • The fourth-degree offense of possessing any other firearm that needs a license or authorization carries a maximum eighteen-month jail term.
  • Possession with Intention to Harm (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4). This accusation indicates that a person bought, owned, or was in possession of a weapon while planning to execute a crime. Seldom is this felony charged separately; rather, it is frequently charged along with several other charges like theft or burglaries. Other circumstances will determine how serious this charge is.
  • Using a firearm, pyrotechnics, or other explosives against an individual or piece of property is a second-degree offense. A conviction carries a sentence of five to ten years in jail.
  • Just about every other instrument used on anyone is a third-degree offense that carries a jail sentence of three to five years.
  • Simply possessing a fake or non-operational replica/model weapon is a fourth-degree offense that carries a maximum sentence of Eighteen months in jail. 

New Jersey’s laws on firearms

The following are a few of New Jersey’s more prevalent firearms laws:

  • Having a pistol with no license to possess is restricted.
  • Additionally, it is illegal to own a long gun with no Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FID).
  • There is no clear separation between possessing a hidden and an openly displayed firearm once it comes to legal consequences, so you might be subject to the very same punishments regardless.
  • The possession of a few types of automatic firearms is prohibited in New Jersey.
  • It is illegal to have a loaded firearm or in a car, as well as to fire through any road while driving.
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Restricted Firearms (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3)

 There’s really no legal method to own some firearms in New Jersey since they are completely illegal. These are referred to as forbidden firearms (and instruments). The following five fundamental groups of restricted weapons exist:

  • Explosive devices that cause damage. Carrying is a third-degree offense that involves a 3–5 year jail term.
  • Cut-off shotguns. Third-degree crime as well.
  • Silencers. Carrying is a fourth-degree offense that carries a maximum eighteen-month jail term.
  • Guns with alterations. It is a fourth-degree felony to use weaponry that has been modified in just about any way, with the exception of vintage guns.
  • A few other weaponry. Ownership of either of the mentioned weapons “with no excusable legitimate reason” is a fourth-degree criminal offense prosecutable by up to eighteen months in jail: gravity knives, pocket knives, daggers, brass knuckles, slingshots, or leather bands encrusted with metal shavings or sharp blades embedded in lumber, and projectile knives.

How to Disprove Prosecutions of Weapon Possession

A client immediately requires legal representation to assist with creating a strong defense due to the gravity of a firearms conviction in New Jersey. The specific approach will rely on the circumstances of the crime and the background of the accused.

Examining the grounds around the searching and confiscation is a typical tactic. It could be feasible to get the charges dropped if the firearm was discovered in someone’s house and the police broke in without authorization or a warrant.

One other option is to hinder the court’s ability to establish “constructive possession.” Legally, the individual who is in actual control of a firearm both owns and has authority over it. For instance, if the firearm was not located on the individual, such as in a vehicle with someone other than the accused, it may not be instantly obvious who the firearm originally belonged to. This can be advantageous from a legal standpoint.

The Repercussions of a First Offense

When it comes to first-time firearms crime charges, New Jersey is strict. This is because of the so-called Graves Act, which stipulates that anybody found guilty of a crime using a firearm must serve a significant term.

For instance, a conviction for illicit ownership in the second degree carries a Five to ten -year prison term.

Prior to becoming qualified for release, the Graves Act stipulates that at minimum three and half years of this term must have passed, as contrary to 1/3rd of the sentence as is typical in NJ.

Children’s Repercussions

Different legislation (2C:58-6.1) from the one controlling grownups in New Jersey prohibits children from possessing weapons. An individual under the age of eighteen years is specifically prohibited by law from obtaining, owning, transporting, or using a firearm.

Illegal gun possession or other banned weapon by a minor is a fourth-degree crime that carries a maximum sentence of one year in juvenile imprisonment.

Typically, incidents involving young people accused of crimes using firearms are tried in family court. A child who is found guilty must cope with the repercussions of a felony conviction, which can impair one’s potential to acquire employment and go to university, along with receiving a juvenile correctional term.

Intervention for Possession of Firearms Before Court hearing

A person who has never been convicted before may qualify for a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), a specific program designed to help people prevent going to trial and being found guilty. The prosecutions of anyone who enroll in and successfully passes a PTI program will be dropped, with no charges and no criminal record).

The PTI application process does not approve everybody. New Jersey is much worse since there is a perception of inadmissibility when it relates to firearms crimes. That does not imply that a person won’t be welcomed. It is stated that one must instead provide “valid justifications” for admission.

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Eradicate the charges of having a firearm

If the offender is somewhat qualified, a firearms offense in New Jersey may be erased. An individual must only ever have one charge for a prosecutable offense in order to be qualified for an expungement; in other terms, the only prosecutable charge included in their criminal history can be the firearms offense. An individual is also only permitted to have a maximum of 3 disruptive people charges on their history.

The restriction on prosecutable offenses has one outlier: if numerous prosecutable offenses were included in a given verdict or were perpetrated in a series of incidents over a brief span of time, they may be erased. After that, the applicant needs to wait six years and go through a laborious application process.

In New Jersey, may self-defense be applied to defend against a gun charge?

In some circumstances, the defense of self-defense is sufficient to disprove a firearms possession allegation. Nevertheless, it would only be applicable in situations where the firearm was employed impulsively in response to a clear threat. Whenever an individual is protecting themselves by having a gun, self-defense can’t be used.

Once your felony history has been sealed, can you still possess a weapon?

The ability to get a Guns Purchaser ID Card (FPIC) and a weapons license in New Jersey may be restored through a clearance.

Is a suppressor legal to possess in New Jersey?

The ordinary New Jersey is not permitted to possess a silencer under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3. A suppressor must only be carried by authorized law enforcement personnel, active army personnel, or Military Police members. But although, he or she is solely permitted to do so when on active service or en route to or from an active service location. This law’s violations are third-degree prosecutable crimes.

In New Jersey, what type of knife is permitted?

Almost every type of knife that is not utilized in the kitchen is protected by New Jersey’s gun regulations. Anyone discovered in possession of a knife without a plainly legal use may be prosecuted with a prosecutable felony.

Regulating Non-New Jersey Residents

If you are discovered having a firearm across state borders, you risk being prosecuted with illegal possession regardless if you had a license to carry from some other state. A license from a different state won’t be accepted in New Jersey. As a result, you will be subject to criminal sanctions if you bring a firearm into New Jersey while in possession of a license from a different state.

The Red Flag Law in New Jersey

In addition, New Jersey has a “red flag” legislation, which is becoming a trend in several states. The red flag legislation allows police authorities to seize a person’s guns if they feel they constitute a threat to their own selves or those around, as long as they first get a court order authorizing the seizure.

The legislation also permits relatives to contact the authorities or the court to order the removal of a person’s guns and munitions if they think their family member constitutes a danger to themselves or to anyone else.

A court will give an interim order via the red flag rule compelling the firearm possessor to turn in their weapons. The possessor will be afforded a hearing within ten days; during that, the court will make a decision about either to issue a definitive order of protection or return the weapons to their possessor.


Contact a lawyer right now if you or a family member is facing charges in New Jersey for weapons-related violations.

Numerous clients accused of illegally possessing a firearm and other relevant charges have received assistance from knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers.

They can battle to retain you out of prison, protect your constitutional rights, and do their best to get the indictments against you for having guns dropped.


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