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Possession of Weapon for Unlawful Purpose

South Plainfield NJ Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose Lawyer

Weapons Defense Attorneys in Middlesex County, New Jersey

Possession Weapon Unlawful Purpose Lawyers Plainfield NJNew Jersey is very progressive in its view of weapons offenses. This means that the state has some of the strictest weapons and guns laws in the entire country. A conviction for weapons offenses usually results in mandatory incarceration in state prison. A possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose offense occurs when an individual arms himself with the intent of using the weapon against another in a criminal manner. Will Proetta, our firm’s founding attorney, has represented defendants against a wide array of crimes and charges over the years including possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. At the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver, our lawyers represent clients for guns and weapons charges throughout Middlesex County and New Jersey, including New Brunswick, Plainsboro, Piscataway, South Plainfield, Woodbridge, Cranbury, Carteret, and Edison. To learn more about how we can assist you with your charges contact us at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation with an experienced Middlesex County weapons defense lawyer.

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

Unlike the common defense to other violent crimes such as murder or aggravated assault, the test for possessing a weapon for a lawful purpose is not whether the defendant was reasonable in his belief to possess the weapon for self defense, but whether the belief was honestly held. Honestly held belief in lawful possession may occur when:

  • The defendant’s honest purpose in possessing and continuing to possess a weapon is to use it for sport, precaution or in a manner intended to cause no harm to another.
  • Possession of the weapon for self-protection or the protection of others constitutes a defense to this offense.
  • Intoxication may be a defense to the element of purposeful action of this offense.

*  It should be noted that inoperability of the gun in and of itself does not negate the unlawful purpose.

Possession is divided into two categories. These are actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession is sometimes referred to as manual possession. This means that the defendant has direct physical control over the object. In contrast, constructive possession occurs when the defendant does not have the item on his person, but is aware of its presence and is able to exercise control over it and has a purpose to exercise control over it. In some cases, it will be impossible to define with precision the exact crime or crimes the defendant intended to commit with a firearm. However, the State is not obligated to prove the exact details of the intended crime such as when it would occur or the identity of the person or property targeted.

Penalties for Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes in New Jersey

Second Degree – The possession of either a firearm, explosive or destructive device with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the property or person of another is a crime of the second degree.

Third Degree – Possession of a weapon other than a firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is a crime of the third degree.

Fourth Degree – It is a fourth degree crime to possess an imitation firearm under circumstances that would lead an observer to reasonably believe that it is possessed for an unlawful purpose.

The Graves Act imposes mandatory parole ineligibility for defendants convicted of possession of a firearm with the intent to use it either against the person or the property of another.

 Contact a Perth Amboy NJ Gun Possession Lawyer for More Information

Weapon and gun crimes are very serious and require the skills of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This is because these charges are inherently complicated. The issues of merger and less included offenses are complex when applied to weapons offenses. For example, the possession of a weapon without a permit does not merge into the offense of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Moreover, merger is not required when the defendant uses the firearm to commit a robbery or burglary and then uses the firearm to prevent witnesses from informing the police or uses the firearm to force persons to provide shelter. An experienced gun possession attorney can help you navigate the tricky court system and challenge the state’s case against you in an effort to have your charges downgraded or even dismissed altogether. Contact our office at (732) 659-9600 to learn more about potential representation for your weapons charges during a free consultation with an experienced Middlesex County weapons defense lawyer.