Freehold Gun Offense Lawyers

New Jersey has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. As a result, the legal penalties can range from 18 months to 10 years in prison and extensive fines. In certain circumstances, simply possessing a firearm is considered a crime.

There are several gun-related offenses in New Jersey, ranging from unlawful possession to possession of a handgun without a permit or license, all of which are considered indictable crimes. If you have been charged with a gun-related offense, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced gun offense lawyer who can review the charges brought against you, ensure that your legal rights are protected, and recommend the most effective defense strategy.

What Are Examples of Gun Offenses?

Any unlawful possession or use of a weapon in New Jersey may result in a criminal charge. If convicted, you could face various penalties, including a mandatory jail sentence, even if this is your first offense. The following are examples of gun offenses in New Jersey:

  • Unlawful possession: If you were found in possession of a weapon under circumstances that did not warrant the possession or use of a weapon, you could be charged with unlawful possession. Charges may include possession of a firearm, including a handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or an assault weapon without a permit or possession of any other weapon that requires a license or permit.
  • Possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes: If you purchased, owned, or were found carrying a weapon with the intention of committing a crime, you may be charged with possession for unlawful purposes. This offense is often charged in conjunction with other offenses, like burglary or robbery. The severity of the charges will depend on a range of factors, including if the gun was used on a person, if another weapon was used against another person, or if the gun was a toy or replica gun.

The following are additional examples of commonly charged weapons offenses:

  • Possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle
  • Possession of a firearm without a permit
  • Possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime
  • Possession of a firearm at an educational institution
  • Unlawful possession of a weapon while on probation or parole
  • Possession of a firearm by a juvenile
  • Failure to surrender a gun while on conditional release or after a domestic violence arrest
  • Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons offense

What Are the Penalties for Gun Offenses?

In most cases, a weapons charge is an indictable criminal offense, ranging from second to fourth degree. If the weapons charge does not include additional charges for assault, robbery, or burglary, penalties include the following:

  • Second-degree offense: This comes with a five to 10-year prison sentence and fines of up to $150,000.
  • Third-degree offense: Penalties include three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
  • Fourth-degree offense: This is the least serious penalty, which includes up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

What Penalties Will I Face as a First-Time Offender?

If you are facing criminal charges and it is your first offense, you may be able to negotiate a less severe penalty. However, New Jersey imposes particularly harsh penalties against weapons charges, regardless of whether you are a repeat offender or it is your first offense.

The Graves Act governs firearms and weapons criminal offenses in New Jersey and is considered one of the country’s most strict criminal weapons statutes. The harsh punishments include lengthy prison terms and parole ineligibility. First-time offenders are not exempt from these severe penalties. For example, if you are charged with second-degree unlawful possession, this comes with a prison sentence of five to 10 years. The Graves Act mandates that you must serve a minimum of 42 months, or three and a half years, before you can be eligible for parole. If you do not have a criminal record, your Freehold gun offense lawyer may be able to obtain a Graves Act Waiver to reduce or negate the sentence and get probation instead. 

What Is the No Early Release Act?

This law imposes a minimum sentence for people who commit first or second-degree crimes. In addition, the person must serve at least 85 percent of their term without the possibility of parole. If released on parole, the law requires parole supervision of five years for a first-degree crime and three years for a second-degree crime. First and second-degree crimes are extremely serious in nature and include murder, robbery, terrorism, and hijacking. The difference is that first-degree crimes are deliberate and premeditated, whereas second-degree crimes do not involve advanced planning. While both crimes involve the intention to kill another person, the penalties will be more severe if the crime is premeditated.

What Are My Legal Options If I Am Facing a Weapons Charge?

If you have been charged with a weapons offense in New Jersey, it is imperative that you contact a highly skilled Freehold gun offense lawyer who can review the charges that have been brought against you and recommend a defense strategy. There are a number of defense strategies that your lawyer may recommend based on the nature of the crime and the severity of the charges, including the following:

  • Illegal search
  • Invalid search warrant
  • Challenging the elements of the crime
  • Plea agreement

Our Freehold Gun Offense Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Clients Facing Gun Charges

If you have been charged with a weapons offense, do not hesitate to contact our Freehold gun offense lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville, Morristown, and Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Monmouth County, Mercer County, and Burlington County.