Trenton Weapons Charges Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys Fight For Dismissals and Reduced Charges for Clients Facing Weapons Charges in Mercer County and throughout New Jersey
New Jersey law takes a harsh stance against weapons offenses, even against first-time offenders. Weapons charges in this state carry hefty fines and possible imprisonment. If you are facing weapons charges, it is important that you hire an expert and experienced weapons charges lawyer to prepare and mount a strong and compelling defense on your behalf.
Under the Graves Act, a person who is convicted of a weapons offense is required to serve a lengthy sentence. For instance, a second-degree charge of unlawful possession of a weapon can be penalized with a sentence from anywhere from 5 to 10 years in prison. Under The Graves Act, the convicted offender must serve at least 42 months (or 3.5 years) of this sentence before becoming eligible for parole. This is higher than the New Jersey standard for other crimes, which is to serve one-third of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
If you are facing a weapons offense and live in Mercer County, Burlington County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, or anywhere else in New Jersey, the skilled Trenton Weapons Charges Lawyers at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC has years of experience and skill in handling these cases. Contact us today so we can discuss your legal options.
Facing Weapons Charges in New Jersey
A legitimate weapons possession charge against any person in New Jersey must meet certain minimum criteria or requirements, among which are:
- That a weapon must have existed
- That the accused must have possessed that weapon
- That the accused must have had knowledge of what the weapon was, and how it could be used
- And that the circumstances in which the weapon was found indicates that the object or weapon was clearly not appropriate for lawful use
In New Jersey, a weapon is defined as anything that can be used to kill someone or to inflict serious harm or bodily injury. The following list of objects is not exclusive but is just a short list of items that are considered weapons in New Jersey:
- Metal Knuckles
- Cestis (and other leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades embedded in wood)
- Gravity Knives
- Stun Guns
- Switchblade Knives
Specific Penalties for Weapons Charges in New Jersey
Penalties for weapons charges in New Jersey may vary depending on whether you are facing charges of possession for an unlawful purpose, possession without a valid permit or license, or possession of a prohibited weapon. The imposed penalty varies based on the classification of the weapon involved and several factors, which include:
- If the weapon is a firearm, explosive or destructive device, the crime is of the second-degree. The penalty can range from 5 to 10 years of jail time and a maximum fine of $150,000.
- If the weapon is identified as an “other weapon” such as a BB, paintball, or airsoft gun, the crime is of the third degree. The penalty could range from 3 to 5 years of jail time and a maximum fine of $15,000.
- If the weapon is just an imitation firearm, the crime is of the fourth degree. The penalty can be up to 18 months of jail time and a maximum fine of $10,000.
- If the weapon is prohibited, generally the charge would be of the third or fourth degree. This would depend on how dangerous the weapon is determined to be.
There are some weapons that are completely outlawed in New Jersey. These are called prohibited weapons (and devices) and there is no legal way to possess them. Prohibited weapons are grouped into five basic categories:
- Destructive or explosive devices
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Defaced firearms
- Certain other weapons
If you are being charged with a weapons offense, it is something you need to take seriously. With effective and timely representation by the skilled and experienced legal team at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC, there are a number of ways to avoid severe penalties or a finding of guilt.
Common Defenses against Weapons Charges
As soon as you engage our experienced weapons charges lawyers at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC, we will explore all aspects of the case to find and identify enough basis to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced or to negotiate for a plea bargain.
Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, here are a few actions that our qualified attorneys can pursue in defense of your weapons charges:
- Take immediate action to fight for the reduction of bail
- Fight to have the charges removed or dismissed
- Negotiate for and pursue a plea bargaining agreement
Under New Jersey law, the prosecution is required to prove a weapons charges case in order to obtain a conviction. There are a number of effective defenses against weapons charges that seek to have them dismissed even before the case goes to court. For instance, we can file a motion to suppress any and all evidence that was unlawfully obtained if they violated your Miranda rights or laws against unreasonable searches and seizures.
If you have been arrested for a weapons offense, the skilled and experienced legal team at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC will work on ways to challenge the evidence against you. Contact us today to find out how.
Other Available Options After a NJ Weapons Charge
Under the New Jersey court system, there is a Pretrial Intervention (PTI) program available for some weapons charge offenders. PTI is a special program wherein a person with no prior convictions can apply in order to avoid trial and conviction. The weapons charges against those who successfully complete a PTI are dismissed. They would have no conviction and no criminal record.
However, not everyone who applies is accepted. When it comes to weapons offenses in New Jersey, there is a presumption that the offender is ineligible. The law requires a person to show “compelling reasons” why he should be admitted to PTI.
It is also possible to have weapons possession charges eventually expunged from your record if you are eligible. In order to qualify for expungement, you need to meet the following criteria:
- You were not convicted of more than one indictable offense;
- You do not have more than three disorderly persons offenses on your record
Before you can apply for an expungement, you must first complete the terms of sentencing, including prison time, parole/supervision, and payment of fines. Once you have completed these, you must then wait 6 years and complete a lengthy application for expungement.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Weapons Defense Lawyers to Discuss Your Options Today
If you have been arrested or are facing weapons charges anywhere in New Jersey, you need an experienced weapons charges defense attorney. Contact Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC today and we will work immediately to prepare your defense and to protect your rights.
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) About Weapons Charges in New Jersey
Circumstances that are manifestly not appropriate for lawful use are present when the use of the weapon involves a threat to harm a person or a threat to cause damage to property. A concrete example of this is when a person is in possession of a paintball gun with the intent of shooting a car to deface the paint of the car. By their nature, paintball guns can be appropriately possessed, but when used for the purpose of defacing the surfaces of other people’s property, then possession of a paintball gun falls into the zone of “circumstances manifestly not appropriate for lawful use”. As a general rule, this criterion will be met if the surrounding circumstances dictated that the use was inappropriate.
If you have been arrested for weapons charges, the skilled and experienced legal team at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC will work on ways to challenge the evidence against you as soon as you engage the Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC weapons defense attorneys. Our attorneys will work to get the weapons charges against you dismissed or reduced, or help you avoid imprisonment. If you were arrested while driving a vehicle, we will raise the defense that the police did not have probable cause to stop and search your motor vehicle.