Charged With Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose
New Jersey takes an extremely strict approach to Weapons Offenses and especially so when they are being used for an unlawful purpose. The penalties for possessing a weapon for the purpose of committing an assault, robbery, or another crime are severe. If you are arrested and you are found to possess weapons for an unlawful purpose you face years of potential jail. For this reason alone, you need to employ the legal counsel of an attorney skilled in in defending handgun, firearm and other weapon charges. The experienced team at Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver has over 100 years of combined experience defending these types of offenses in Freehold at the Monmouth County Superior Court. With several former county prosecutors on our team, you are assured to receive the best possible criminal defense representation available. We represent clients arrested on unlawful purpose offenses throughout Monmouth County, including Asbury Park, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Lake Como, Marlboro and Ocean. Call our Freehold office today at 732-462-1197 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Weapons Possessed for an Unlawful Purpose: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4
This offense is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a), which provides in pertinent part:
a. Firearms. (1) Any person who has in his possession any firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
Any person who possesses, receives or transfers a community gun is guilty of a crime of the second degree and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or three years, whichever is greater and during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. As used in this paragraph, “community gun” means a firearm that is transferred among, between or within any association of two or more persons who, while possessing that firearm, engage in criminal activity or use it unlawfully against the person or property of another.
b. Explosives. Any person who has in his possession or carries any explosive substance with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
c. Destructive devices. Any person who has in his possession any destructive device with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
d. Other weapons. Any person who has in his possession any weapon, except a firearm, with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
e. Imitation firearms. Any person who has in his possession an imitation firearm under circumstances that would lead an observer to reasonably believe that it is possessed for an unlawful purpose is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
Grading the Offense. Possessing a firearm, explosive, or destructive device with the intent of using it unlawfully against the property or person of another is a second degree offense. Possessing a weapon other than those previously listed with the intent of using it unlawfully against the person or property of another is a third degree offense.
Proving a Firearms Case Under 2C:39-4. The state must prove several things in order to obtain a conviction for the possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose. First, there must have been a firearm present. Second, the defendant must have possessed the firearm. Third, the defendant must have had the purpose to use the firearm against the person or property of another. Fourth, the firearm was going to be used unlawfully.
Possessing a handgun or pistol for the purpose of committing an unlawful act is a second degree crime which exposes a defendant to five (5) to ten (10) years of jail time upon conviction. If the weapon is something other than a firearm, explosive or destructive device, then the violation is a third degree crime subjecting the defendant to a presumptive jail ranging from three (3) to five (5) years. The maximum fine if you are convicted is $150,000 for a second degree and $15,000 for a third degree.
Graves Act Implications. The Graves Act applies to unlawful purpose charges involving firearms. What this does is result in the imposition of a mandatory period of parole ineligibility for anyone convicted under 2C:39-4 while in possession of a gun or other firearm.
Freehold NJ Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose Lawyers
If you are facing an indictment for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, an attorney at our Freehold Office is available immediately at 732-462-1197. We will invest our time and knowledge into a thorough review of your case and this consultation is free of charge. Our team has defended many individuals just like you who have been arrested in Middletown, Neptune, Hazlet, Keansburg, Howell, Aberdeen and other towns in this jurisdiction for unlawful purpose charges. An experienced weapon offense defense lawyer is available now to assist you.