Firearm Possession Laws in New Jersey
In New Jersey, Unlawful Possession of Weapons is governed by New Jersey statute 2C:39-5. Under the law, any person who knowingly has in his or her possession a machine gun or assault rifle, is guilty of a criminal offense of the second degree. There is an exception to this law that states it is not a crime to possess a machine gun if the person is properly licensed pursuant to New Jersey statute 2C:58-5.
It is also illegal for an individual to possess a handgun, including an antique handgun without first obtaining a permit to carry a handgun pursuant to New Jersey statute 2C:58-4. If an individual does not have a permit as required by this New Jersey statute, and has in his or her possession a handgun, the individual will be guilty of a crime of the second degree.
Additionally, it is illegal to possess rifles and shotguns without first obtaining a firearms purchaser identification card which is required under this statute and statute 2C:58-3. If an individual is in possession of a rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser ID card, they will be guilty of a crime of the third degree.
Assault Rifle & Machine Gun Possession Penalties
In New Jersey, possession of an assault rifle without a valid license and or the proper authorization to possess an assault rifle can be a very serious offense which can carry very serious penalties. Under the statute, the unlawful possession of an assault rifle is a crime of the second degree. This means that upon conviction an individual will face between five and ten years in a New Jersey state prison. Additionally, the possession, sale and or transportation of an assault rifle can be a federal crime subjecting the individual to various federal penalties. Federal weapons convictions ordinarily carry prison sentences upon conviction. Additionally, in the federal system, parole is not an option. This means that an individual who is sentenced to prison in the federal system will have to complete eighty five percent of their sentence before they are eligible for release.
Potential Defenses for Assault Rifle Possession Charges
There are however various defenses to possession of an assault rifle charges. First and foremost, the state and or federal government will have to prove that the individual charged was actually in possession of the assault weapon. If the state or federal government is unable to establish this beyond a reasonable doubt, the individual will not be convicted of the assault weapons offense. Additionally, if the assault rifle was seized subject to a search that violated the New Jersey or Federal Constitution, the assault rifle recovered may be suppressed. This means that the assault rifle will not be used in the prosecution of the individual and the charges will likely be dismissed.
Handgun Possession Charge Penalties in NJ
In New Jersey, you must first obtain a permit to purchase and carry a handgun. Similar to the unlawful possession of assault rifles, an individual found with unlawful possession of a handgun will be charged with a crime of the second degree and face between five and ten years in New Jersey state prison. Additionally, that individual will face a period of parole ineligibility. Therefore, the individual will not be eligible for parole until they complete their specific period of parole ineligibility in state prison.
If the individual has a firearm purchasers identification card and has satisfied any other legal requirements, they may be permitted to transport their handgun under very specific circumstances and in a very specific manner. If an individual fails to properly comply with the law, they may be charged with second degree unlawful possession of a handgun and could face the above described penalties.
Potential Defenses in a Handgun Possession Case
There are various defenses to handgun possession cases. Some of those defenses include, challenging the evidence that the prosecution is attempting to offer to show that an individual was actually in possession of a handgun. Additionally, the way in which the handgun was transported or possessed can in some circumstances be used to demonstrate that the individual did comply with the handgun possession law and they therefore should not be charged or convicted of a criminal offense.
Rifles and Shotguns Possession Penalties
In New Jersey, statute 2C:39-5 makes it a criminal charge to possess a rifle without first obtaining the proper legal authorization to be in possession of that rifle. Under New Jersey statute 2C:39-5(c) any individual who knowingly has in their possession any rifle or shotgun without properly obtaining a firearms purchasers identification card pursuant to section 2C:58-3 is guilty of a crime of the third degree. A third degree criminal conviction can subject a person to between three and five years in a New Jersey state prison, a period of probation, fines and or community service.
Additionally, in some circumstances, an individual who is charged with possession of a rifle may be able to obtain admission into the pretrial intervention program. The pretrial intervention program (PTI) is a diversionary program in the state of New Jersey. Under this program, an individual is placed on probation for a period between one and three years. They are often ordered to complete a certain number of community service hours, fines, and random drug screenings. If the individual is able to complete all of the requirements and stay out of trouble, the individual will have his or her case dismissed at the end of the probationary period. Once the case is dismissed, it can be expunged.
Contact a Firearms Defense Lawyer and Reduce Your Charges
The specific penalties an individual faces and whether they are violating the law if specific to each individual case and the specific facts and circumstances of that particular case. If you or someone you know would like to speak to one of our New Jersey gun crime attorneys about an unlawful possession of weapons case you can call our law firm at any time.
Our attorneys are aggressive criminal defense lawyers who have handled unlawful possession of weapons cases throughout the state of New Jersey. In fact, our attorneys have successfully handled multiple unlawful possession of weapons cases in many counties throughout New Jersey. We have also handled similar gun charge cases, such as possession for unlawful purposes. We offer a free consultation on all gun charge cases, give us a call or fill out the form below now!