Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose

Morristown NJ Gun Possession Attorneys

Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose is a complicated law in New Jersey. A conviction for this crime requires a proffer of evidence that the individual in possession of the gun actually intended to use it unlawfully against another person or property. It is in this proof of the defendant’s “mental state” that complicated case law and statutory presumptions “muddy the waters” of a case. Defending against these charges at the Morris County Superior Court requires not just a familiarity with weapons law and criminal defense but also a familiarity with the Morris County Court System. The Law Offices of John Marshall has a legal defense team comprised of attorneys with prior experience as County Prosecutors in New Jersey. Our experienced attorneys have made numerous representations on behalf of clients facing weapons charges. If you have any questions or would like to retain an attorney, then please contact one of our lawyers at our Morristown Office at (973)971-0030.

Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose: N.J.S. 2C:39-4

Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose charges are enumerated under N.J.S. 2C:39-4 which provides in pertinent part:

§ 2C:39-4. Possession of weapons for unlawful purposes

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.

(2) 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.

Penalties for Gun Offenses: Grading, the Graves Act, and Mandatory Parole Ineligibility

As the above statute states, a charge for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose can be a second degree, third degree, or fourth degree offense depending on the circumstances and the alleged weapon involved. Remember, second degree charges have a range of five (5) to ten (10) years in state prison and have a presumption of imprisonment even with no prior criminal record. A third degree charge, on the other hand, has a range of three (3) to five (5) years in state prison and does not contain a presumption of imprisonment. Finally, a fourth degree charge includes up to eighteen (18) months in state prison if convicted.

Further, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose under N.J.S. 2C:39-4(a) is a Graves Act offense which includes mandatory incarceration and parole ineligibility if convicted. As you can see, it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to combat these serious charges. Contact our Morristown or Parsippany office locations for immediate assistance at (973)971-0030. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.