Under New Jersey law, there are four major kinds of weapons offenses: possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession by a person not to possess weapons. Learn more about the penalties associated with each of these below.
New Jersey law prohibits possession of certain kinds of weapons by any civilian under almost any circumstance. Possession of the more dangerous kinds of prohibited weapons is treated as a more serious offense, with a conviction carrying a more severe sentence.
Possession of any explosive device or of a sawed-off shotgun is a third-degree crime, which can carry up to a five-year prison sentence.
Possession of all other kinds of prohibited weapons is a fourth-degree crime, which can carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison. These weapons include:
- Silenced weapons
- Defaced firearms (except antiques)
- Stun guns
- Gravity knives
- Metal knuckles
- Sand clubs
- Ballistic knives
- Any leather band studded with metal
- Hollow ammunition
Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
A person cannot lawfully possess a weapon (even a legal, licensed weapon) if he or she uses it to commit a crime or intends to use it for a crime.
Possession of a firearm, explosive, or other destructive device with the purpose to unlawfully use it against a person or property of another is a second-degree crime that carries a prison sentence of five to 10 years.
Possession of any other kind of weapon with intent to unlawfully use it against another person or his or her property is a third-degree crime, which can have a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Possession of an imitation firearm with intention to unlawfully use it against the person or property of another is a fourth-degree crime that carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
It is unlawful to possess legal weapons without required licenses or permits. This is charged as a third-degree (which carries a prison sentence of three to five years) or fourth-degree crime (which carries a sentence of up to 18 months), depending on the type of weapon.
Weapons that result in a third-degree crime charge include:
- Machine guns
- Assault weapons
Any other weapon is charged as a fourth-degree crime.
Even if you are properly licensed to carry a weapon, you may still be charged with unlawful possession if you carry your weapon to places where civilians are not permitted to possess weapons, such as on school property.
Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons
Certain individuals, including those who have been convicted of any indictable offense or crime of domestic violence (or similar offense in another jurisdiction) or who have ever been committed to a mental institution or psychiatric hospital, may not lawfully possess weapons.
Although a certain persons charge is by default a fourth-degree crime carrying a maximum prison sentence of 18 months, you can be charged with a third-degree crime if you are prohibited from possessing weapons due to a disorderly persons domestic violence conviction, or charged with a second-degree crime if you have been convicted of:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Witness intimidation
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- Any indictable domestic violence offense
Contact an Experienced Scotch Plains Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Weapons Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with weapons offenses in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with weapons offenses in Edison, Woodbridge, Old Bridge, Piscataway, and throughout New Jersey. Call (908) 325-5571 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 1827 East Second Street, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, as well as offices located in Westfield, Newark, East Brunswick, Clifton, Cherry Hill, and Elizabeth.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.