Weapons’ Possession Charges
The Second Amendment provides you with the Right to Bear Arms, subject to certain conditions and immense regulation by state and federal law, of course. You need to apply for a weapons permit, and if approved, then you can purchase a firearm—which must be stored in your home. To be allowed to carry your weapon, you must fill out another application as well as write a letter discussing your need to do so. Generally, only those who must carry a firearm for their employment are able to receive permits to carry.
Two charges can stem from weapons possession, which are seen as criminal offense: unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The first, unlawful possession of a weapon means that your possession was prohibited, whether the weapon is illegal to own regardless of having a permit, or if you have a permit only to possess but not carry. Either scenario can cause you to be charged with this offense. Another unlawful possession offense is if you have the firearm on any school property. Even with the correct carry permit, having a gun on school grounds is unlawful except by law enforcement.
Penalties for unlawful possession of a weapon vary between a fourth degree crime and a third degree offense, depending on the type of weapon. For example, having the weapon on school grounds is a fourth degree crime with a maximum of 18 months in prison. Possession of a handgun, rifle, machine gun, shot gun, or loaded rifle without a permit is a third degree offense with a maximum of 5 years’ incarceration. Possession of all other weapons without the proper permit is a third degree crime with a maximum 18 months in prison.
In regard to the second offense, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose includes driving with a loaded weapon in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. This also covers the intent to use the weapon in an illegal manner, whether to commit a robbery, a murder, or other offense. The potential penalties for a conviction of this charge range from fourth degree to second degree. If the weapon in question was imitation firearm, it is a crime of the fourth degree and comes with a maximum prison sentence of 18 months. For other weapons, it’s considered a third degree offense with a maximum 5 years’ incarceration. Possession of a firearm, explosives, or other destructive device is a second degree offense with sentence of 10 years in prison.
New Jersey is a state known for it’s no tolerance on weapons charges and has stricter laws than many other states. If you have been charged with a weapons possession or any other related criminal offense, it’s important for you enlist the assistance of a skilled defense attorney right away. At the Law Office of Zapicchi & Liller, we have the experience you need to help obtain the best possible outcome. Whether striving to reduce the charges or seeking to get a dismissal altogether, we can provide you with the defenses and strategies that can help your unique situation. Call today for a free consultation at (609) 291-9500.