Weapons possession laws in New Jersey are strict compared some other areas of the country. Those who violate these laws may face significant consequences including lengthy prison sentences.
Accordingly, it is important to consult with our attorneys as soon as possible after being charged with a gun crime. Our legal team can help you navigate the criminal justice system and ensure that your rights are not infringed upon. Furthermore, our lawyers can fight to have your criminal charges lessened or dismissed.
After being charged with illegal weapons possession in Cumberland County, NJ, seek guidance from our experienced weapons possession defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by dialing (609) 616-4956.
Weapons Possession Crimes You Can Be Charged with in Cumberland County, NJ
There are multiple types of weapons possession crimes that you can be charged with in Cumberland County. You can contact our law firm for help dealing with any of the following offenses:
Firearms Possession Without a Permit
First, you may be charged with a crime if you are caught carrying a firearm without the proper permit. The type of permit you require can vary depending on the type of firearm you possess. For example, one permit applies to rifles and shotguns while a separate type of permit must be obtained in order to carry a handgun.
The application to obtain a firearm permit involves a mental health records search, a background check, and submission of your fingerprints. Permits can be denied for a wide range of reasons. For instance, a gun permit may be denied if the applicant has a history of drug use or domestic violence. Further, those who have mental or physical disabilities may have trouble obtaining firearms permits.
Previously, gun permit applicants in Cumberland County were required to provide a justifiable need for their permit. However, in the 2022 case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar requirement set forth by New York law was unconstitutional. The struck-down law in New York required applicants to provide “proper cause” that they needed a gun permit.
In order to comply with this new ruling, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy passed a gun safety bill attempting to adjust the weapons permitting process. Still, there are challenges to many of the existing rules. If you were accused of possessing a gun without a permit in Cumberland County, our attorneys can look into how these changes might affect your case.
Weapons Possession for Unlawful Purposes
You can also be charged for possession of a weapon that you legally own if you attempt to use the weapon for an unlawful purpose. In most cases, this crime involves people using guns to commit crimes. However, the offense can also be applied to cases where defendants wielded other weapons life knives. If you possess a weapon with the intent to use it against another person unlawfully, you may face serious criminal penalties.
Additionally, you may be charged with this crime if you possess a gun that is passed between members of a group in order to partake in criminal activities.
Possession of Prohibited Weapons
Lastly, you can also face criminal penalties for possessing a prohibited weapon. This rule applies to firearms that are exceptionally dangerous and serve no legitimate purpose. For example, the following will all be considered prohibited weapons in Cumberland County:
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Armor-piercing bullets
- Silenced weapons
- Weapons that have had their serial numbers removed
Penalties for Weapons Possession Crimes in Cumberland County, NJ
The penalties for weapons possession crimes in Cumberland County can vary depending on several factors. Generally, these offenses are punished as either second, third, or fourth-degree crimes. The following penalties will be applied:
- Second-degree crimes may be punished with 5-10 years of jail time and fines reaching a maximum $150,000.
- Third-degree crimes may be punished with 3-5 years in prison and fines reaching a maximum of $15,000.
- Fourth-degree crimes may be punished with a maximum of 18 months in prison and fines of $10,000 or under
The charge of possession without a permit may be met with different penalties depending on the type of gun at issue. For instance, if you carry a handgun or a machine gun without a permit, then you may be charged with a second-degree crime. Meanwhile, someone who carries a rifle or a shotgun without a permit may only be charged with a third-degree crime.
Possession of a weapon for an unlawful person is generally treated as a second-degree crime. Accordingly, if you carry a gun while committing a crime, you may be faced with a 5 to 10-year prison sentence and fines totaling up to $150,000.
Lastly, in most cases, possession of a prohibited weapon will be treated as a third or fourth-degree offense. Therefore, if you were caught carrying an illegal weapon like a sawed-off shotgun or silenced pistol, you may still face severe criminal penalties including prison time.
Potential Defenses to Weapons Possession Charges in Cumberland County, NJ
There are several potential defenses to weapons possession charges in Cumberland County. For example, you may avoid facing criminal penalties if your weapon was uncovered because of an illegal search. Furthermore, if you are caught carrying a firearm without the appropriate permit, you may be able to avoid criminal charges by proving that your gun was properly stowed, and that you were travelling to a gun range.
Defendants in Weapons Possession Cases in Cumberland County, NJ Can Call Our Attorneys for Support
If you were charged with a gun crime, connect with our experienced weapons possession lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956.