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Middlesex County

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Imitation Firearms

Old Bridge NJ Imitation Firearm Possession Lawyer

Gun Charges Defense Attorneys in Middlesex County, New Jersey

New Jersey has progressive and tough firearms laws that regulate machine guns, rifles, BB-guns and even imitation guns. That is not to say that you can get arrested for something as innocent and trivial as owning a toy cap gun. However, it is a crime to possess an imitation weapon with the intent to commit the unlawful purpose of making other people believe it is a real firearm. A common example of this crime is when an individual uses a realistic looking toy gun to rob a bank. The act of using the fake firearm is a fourth degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in state prison. The separate act of robbery will be prosecuted against that individual as well. Similarly to almost all weapon related crimes, imitation firearms charges are complicated and often require the skills of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Will Proetta, our firm’s founding attorney, has successfully represented clients against a wide array of criminal charges, including various weapon crimes in courts across the State. The Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver defends individuals throughout Middlesex County and New Jersey, including those in Piscataway, Highland Park, Plainsboro, New Brunswick, and Woodbridge. To speak with a weapons defense attorney concerning the details of your case contact us at our Edison offices at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation.

Possession of an Imitation Firearm with an Unlawful Purpose

An “imitation firearm” is defined broadly to mean an object or device reasonably capable of being mistaken for a firearm.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(e), 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. This subsection was added to prevent the total escape from punishment of those weapons that fail to meet the definition of a “firearm” and may also fail to meet the definition of a “weapon” altogether. On its face, the section seems quite broad, possibly making it a fourth degree for anyone carrying a toy gun on a dark street or through a rough neighborhood. However, the implied culpability element of knowledge narrows the statute slightly in favor of leniency. This is because the defendant must be found to know that an observer would reasonably believe that the object was a firearm. Essentially, this means that he/she intends to show the object for its threat value. Moreover, it is a separate charge of disorderly persons offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:39:5(e)(3) to possess any imitation firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds or any school, college, university or other educational institution, without written authorization of the institution, or while on a school bus.

Elements of an Imitation Gun Crime

In order to be found guilty of possession of an imitation gun for an unlawful purpose, the state must prove several elements. First, the state must show that the object is in fact an imitation firearm. Second, the state must exhibit that this was a knowing possession by the defendant. Next, it must be proved that defendant possessed it under circumstances that would lead an observer to reasonably believe that the defendant possessed it for an unlawful purpose. Last, and most importantly, the state must show that defendant knew that an observer would reasonably believe that it was a firearm possessed for an unlawful purpose.

Consult a New Brunswick NJ Fake Gun Possession Defense Lawyer Immediately

As you can see from the legal explanation regarding the crime of possession of imitation firearms, this is a serious and complex charge. It is in your best interest to hire an experienced and diligent weapons defense attorney to help you to protect your rights and fight your charges. Our lawyers represent clients faced with possessing imitation firearms and other gun charges throughout Middlesex County and NJ including Sayreville, East Brunswick, Edison, Old Bridge, Carteret, Helmetta, Dunellen, Avenel, Colonia, Perth Amboy, and Cranbury. To speak with an attorney who will help you fight your imitation firearm charges and build a case strategy designed to meet your needs, contact our conveniently located Edison office today at (732) 659-9600.