Illegal weapons possession charges in New Jersey have serious consequences. The statute which governs these offenses is N.J.S. 2C:39-5 which governs charges for:
- Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun – N.J.S. 2C:39-5(a)
- Unlawful Possession of a Hand Gun – N.J.S. 2C:39-5(b)
- Unlawful Possession of Rifles and Shotguns – N.J.S. 2C:39-5(c)
- Unlawful Possession of Other Weapons – N.J.S. 2C:39-5(d)
- Unlawful Possession of Assault Firearms – N.J.S. 2C:39-5(f)
Typically, these are second degree offenses which include between five (5) and ten (10) years in state prison and contain a presumption of incarceration. Moreover, the Graves Act governs many firearms and weapons charges in New Jersey which is enumerated under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6. The Graves Act provides for mandatory imprisonment and parole ineligibility for certain offenses. As a result, many firearms offenders are facing a minimum mandatory of five (5) years in state prison even with no prior criminal record.
I recently represented a client who was charged with unlawful possession of an assault firearm, a second degree offense, in Hudson County Superior Court in Jersey City, New Jersey. My client was a former marine who had returned after doing two (2) tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was facing ten (10) years in State prison and a mandatory minimum of five (5) years without parole. After placing my client into an inpatient rehabilitation facility to deal with his alcohol dependence issues and extensive counseling, the prosecutor agreed to a probationary sentence. This plea agreement had to be approved by the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division in Hudson County because of the extraordinary nature of the plea. This was a tremendous result for my client and his family.