There are numerous self-defense tools and devices on the market these days. Some are so common they can be purchased at retail stores specializing in hunting or sporting goods. However, some tools are a bit too dangerous and are too often misused by criminals. While you might want a blackjack or defense baton for self-protection, these tools are illegal to carry in New Jersey.
Blackjacks and defense batons can be used for self-defense, but they can also be used to seriously injure others. The damage caused by these devices is so great that the State of New Jersey has outlawed them and other similar tools. If you are caught with these tools, you could face criminal charges. If you use these tools to commit a crime, your charges could be upgraded, and the penalties made harsher.
If you are facing criminal charges related to having a blackjack, defense baton, or something similar, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can help. Our team at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can conduct a free case review and help you fight your charges. Call us today at (609) 616-4956.
What Are Blackjacks and Defense Batons in New Jersey?
A blackjack is a very simple yet very devastating self-defense tool. A blackjack is usually shaped like a club or short staff, and at one end is a knob made of heavy, dense material – traditionally lead. The entire tool is often wrapped in leather or a similar material. When swung correctly, the heavy end can inflict serious injuries on the target. Blackjacks are also referred to as coshes, or saps.
A defense baton may be any tool shaped like a baton or club used to bludgeon would-be attackers. A defense baton is often made from a very heavy material like metal or something else equally sturdy, like hard plastic or wood. Defense batons vary in size and shape but are usually short enough to be held easily in one hand. Billy clubs are a common type of defense baton. Some defense batons are even collapsible, making them easy to carry or conceal.
Other self-defense slappers and whips might also be sought out as defensive weapons.
While you might want one of these tools for self-defense, the state considers them to be dangerous weapons. As such, the state places heavy restrictions on owning or carrying one of these tools. Our New Jersey weapons charges defense attorneys can help you challenge any criminal charges related to blackjacks or defense batons.
Can I Legally Carry a Blackjack or Defense Baton in New Jersey?
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3, blackjacks and defense batons, among other weapons, are illegal to own. The law mentions blackjacks specifically by name and includes numerous other tools that may be considered a defense baton. Under the law, a person possessing a blackjack or defense baton can be charged with a fourth-degree crime. A fourth-degree crime may be punished by a maximum of 18 months in prison.
These criminal charges may be implicated in any number of situations. For example, if you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop and the police officer spies a blackjack in the car with you, you could be charged with a fourth-degree crime. The officer might also search your vehicle for additional weapons. You could also be charged if you are caught using the weapon for criminal purposes. Whatever your charges are, our Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys can help you.
Penalties for Having Blackjacks or Defense Batons in New Jersey
As stated above, the penalties for simply having a blackjack or defense baton include charges for fourth-degree crimes punishable by up to 18 months in prison. However, there are multiple other charges you might face. Some charges are related to your possession of the weapon, and others are related to how you use it.
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:39-4.1, if you are caught with a weapon, including a blackjack or defense baton, while engaged in certain criminal activities related to controlled substances, you can be charged with a second-degree crime. These charges would be filed simply for having the weapon during the commission of a drug crime. You may face additional charges for the drug crime itself, such as illegal dispensing or trafficking.
Other criminal charges may be upgraded or enhanced because you used a dangerous weapon. For example, a case of simple assault can quickly turn into a very serious case of aggravated assault if you used a blackjack to commit the crime. These enhanced charges may be on top of other charges for possessing the illegal weapon in the first place.
You might be confused about your criminal charges if you only had the blackjack or defense baton for self-defense. After all, how can self-defense be a crime? While defending yourself from harm is certainly not a crime, the line between innocent and criminal becomes blurred when dangerous weapons are involved. Our Brigantine criminal defense lawyers can help you assert your innocence and fight your charges.
Exceptions to New Jersey’s Laws Against Blackjacks and Defense Batons
Blackjacks and defense batons are generally illegal to carry, but the law creates multiple exceptions, particularly for police officers and armed forces members. Such people are typically allowed to carry these weapons, but only for purposes related to their jobs.
Police officers, members of the armed forces, and the National Guard are exempt from the law that makes carrying blackjacks and defense batons illegal. They are also exempt from numerous other laws related to firearms and other weapons. However, this exemption is not without a few conditions. While these people can lawfully carry blackjacks and defense batons, they must typically be on duty.
If police officers are caught carrying a blackjack while off duty and doing nothing related to their job, they can be charged just like anyone else. However, if those officers were authorized to carry the blackjack and were on their way to perform their duties as police officers, they are exempt. The same can be said for military members and members of the National Guard. If you were criminally charged but believe your case falls under an exception to the law, call our Atlantic County criminal defense lawyers for assistance.
Call Our New Jersey Weapons Charges Defense Lawyers
Having a weapon like a defense baton or blackjack is illegal in New Jersey, even for self-protection. If you are facing criminal charges, contact our Cape May weapons charges defense lawyers for assistance. The attorneys of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can perform a free case review. Call our team at (609) 616-4956.