Table of Contents
- NJ Weapons Charges Punishment Available to Passaic County Courts
- Mandatory Sentencing for NJ Weapons Charges
- Common Passaic County Weapons Charges Cases We Accept
- How Our Passaic County Defense Attorneys Can Help You Fight Weapons Charges
- N.J. Diversion Programs Available as Alternatives to Prosecuting Weapons Charges
- Contact Us About Passaic County Weapons Charges
Under New Jersey law, you can be charged with a weapons offense in Passaic County just by having certain illegal weapons in your possession. You can also face a weapons offense charge for possession of an unregistered weapon or if you possess a weapon with the intention of using it for an unlawful purpose. If convicted of a weapons charge, you may face prison time and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
New Jersey weapons offense charges should be taken seriously and answered promptly with a qualified and experienced legal defense. In Paterson and throughout Passaic County, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall respond 24/7 to individuals facing gun and weapons charges. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall offers clients the advantages of:
- A team of 10 seasoned defense attorneys dedicated solely to representing individuals facing weapons charges or accused of other crimes
- Certified criminal trial attorneys, a distinction earned by fewer than 2% of lawyers licensed in New Jersey
- More than 200 years of combined experience defending New Jersey residents from criminal charges, including weapons and firearms criminal allegations
- A hand-selected legal team made up of former prosecutors and public defenders who have led a Guns Task Force, Major Crimes Bureau, Special Operations, Domestic Violence Unit, and a Trial Division for New Jersey counties and municipalities
- A strategic legal defense based on an investigation of the charges you are facing
- A track record of success that includes trials resolved by charges being dismissed.
Don’t delay in seeking the help of an experienced Passaic County defense lawyer if you or a loved one is facing weapons charges. You don’t want to face alone the harsh punishments available to prosecutors and the courts under New Jersey weapons and gun laws. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in our Wayne, Clifton or Paterson, N.J., offices serving Passaic County online or at (877) 450-8301 for a free initial legal consultation. The sooner our attorneys can get to work building your defense against the firearms charges you are facing, the better for you and your future.
NJ Weapons Charges Punishment Available to Passaic County Courts
If you face weapons charges in Passaic County, you’ll need experienced legal representation to minimize your exposure to significant prison time and the potentially crippling fines available to prosecutors and judges. In addition to punishment defined by statute, New Jersey has mandatory sentencing laws that apply to convictions for gun and weapons charges to ensure that those convicted serve most of the sentences handed down by local Superior Courts.
You may be facing weapons charges because you allegedly possessed or used a weapon in an unlawful manner, such as a handgun, assault rifle, shotgun, knife, razor, or box cutter. If you used something like a bat, piece of pipe, bottle, or hammer to threaten or actually harm someone, that object would be considered a weapon and you would likely have weapons charges filed against you.
Weapons charges are often attached as secondary offenses to initial charges of assault, robbery, or other crimes of violence. The presence of a gun or any other weapon during the commission of a crime elevates the charges and punishments available. An assault charge may become an aggravated assault.
Charges and penalties for basic weapons offenses (not including charges for assault, robbery, etc., with a deadly weapon) include:
- Second-degree offense: 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
- Third-degree offense: 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Fourth-degree offense: Up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition, you could be subject to the Graves Act mandatory sentencing law or the No Early Release Act (NERA) if convicted of weapons charges.
Mandatory Sentencing for NJ Weapons Charges
Under the Graves Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c)), an individual convicted of a weapons crime and sentenced to prison time in New Jersey is not eligible for parole until he or she has served one third to one half of the full sentence imposed, or 3 years (5 years on a second or subsequent gun offense), whichever is greater. If you have been convicted of a fourth-degree offense, you must serve the full 18-month sentence.
New Jersey’s Graves Act mandatory sentencing applies to convictions on charges of:
- Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes
- Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun, Handgun, Rifle or Shotgun
- Possession of a Sawed-Off Shotgun
- Possession of a Defaced Firearm
- Defacement of a Firearm
- Possession of a Firearm While in the Course of Distributing Drugs or Possession of a Firearm With Intent to Distribute Offense
- Possession of Certain Weapons by Persons Previously Convicted of Specified Offenses
- Manufacture, Transport, or Disposition of a Machine Gun, Sawed-Off Shotgun, or Assault Firearm.
If you are convicted of unlawful possession of a machine gun, handgun or assault rifle and the sentencing court finds that you and/or the crime was connected to organized crime activity, you will be ineligible for parole for 5 years.
Additionally, conviction on a Graves Act offense after a prior conviction for certain firearms offenses requires a mandatory extended term of imprisonment. The judge must set ineligibility for parole for one third to one half of the extended sentence, or 5 years, whichever is greater.
New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2) requires that, when sentenced to prison for certain violent crimes, a defendant must serve 85% of the term before being eligible for parole. After release from prison, parole supervision lasts 5 years for a first-degree crime and 3 years for a second-degree crime.
The No Early Release law applies to several first- and second-degree crimes of violence, which we list here because they are often committed with a weapon and are cases our attorneys handle:
- Aggravated Manslaughter
- Aggravated Assault
- Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Arson
- Booby traps in manufacturing or distributing facilities
- Strict liability for drug-induced deaths
- Producing or possessing chemical weapons, biological agents, or nuclear or radiological devices.
Common Passaic County Weapons Charges Cases We Accept
Among the many combinations of weapons charges available under New Jersey law and which may be filed in Passaic County, some of the most common charges our attorneys handle are:
- Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
- Possession of a Firearm for Unlawful Purpose
- Possession of a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle
- Possession of a Handgun Without a Permit or License
- Possession of a Rifle or Shotgun Without a Permit or License
- Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Crime
- Possession of a Weapon or Firearm During Commission of a Drug Distribution or Possession With Intent to Distribute Offense
- Use of a Gun in a Federal Drug Crime
- Possession of a Weapon or Firearm at an Educational Institution (school, college, university, etc.)
- Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, such as Gun Possession by a Convicted Felon or 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
- Possession of an Illegal Weapon
- Imitation Firearm Offenses
- BB gun, Airsoft Gun or Paintball Gun Offenses.
If you are being held on weapons charges in Paterson, N.J., contact us ASAP so our firearms defense attorneys can seek your immediate release for the lowest bail available, if not on your own recognizance. We can then begin our investigation into the weapons charges filed against you and develop a strong defense for you.
How Our Passaic County Defense Attorneys Can Help You Fight Weapons Charges
Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest on weapons charges, the Superior Court of Passaic County, N.J., must presume you are innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You also have a Constitutional right to a robust legal defense.
An experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall backed by the full resources of our law firm will work to develop a vigorous defense that fully challenges and establishes doubt about the charges that Passaic County prosecutors have brought against you.
As your legal advocates, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will review police reports and other evidence connected to the case and obtain statements from you and any other witnesses. When the relevance of any testimony or evidence is questionable, we will seek a court order quashing or excluding it from the case.
Flaws in the prosecution’s case, which could lead to dismissal of the weapons charges, may include:
- Illegal search and seizure
- Illegal arrest
- Failure to warn of Miranda rights
- Improper suspect lineup / mistaken identity
- Inability to prove possession or control of the weapon(s) allegedly seized upon your arrest
- Problems with “chain of custody” of weapon(s) presented as evidence
- False or impeachable evidence
- Unavailable witnesses
- False or impeachable witness testimony
- Bias (racial, ethnic, socio-economic)
- Other prosecutorial and/or police misconduct.
Once we have fully investigated your case, we will negotiate for a reduction or dismissal of the charges or pursue other alternatives available to the courts, as the evidence allows. The circumstances surrounding arrests on weapons offenses are often far less than clear-cut and provide multiple opportunities to challenge the charges.
The courts and prosecutors in Passaic County have crowded calendars. If the case is not airtight and an individual is facing a first offense in which no one was harmed or the defendant can make restitution, prosecutors are likely to consider a resolution of the charges that do not involve going to trial.
If your weapons case goes to trial, our legal team will use evidence in your favor and our extensive litigation experience to refute or mitigate the impact of any evidence that the prosecution presents. We prepare every firearms charge case as if it will go to trial, which gives us full command of the facts. Our attorneys have compiled a strong track record of not guilty verdicts.
N.J. Diversion Programs Available as Alternatives to Prosecuting Weapons Charges
Though punishment for weapons charges in New Jersey is harsh, the state also offers certain qualifying defendants the opportunity to avoid incarceration. A first-time offender who has no violence associated with a case that cannot be dismissed may be able to enter a probationary program instead of going to jail or prison.
These programs consist of close supervision and strict, years-long adherence to terms handed down by the presiding judge. The programs are primarily for defendants who are serious about changing their lifestyle and dealing with any drug, alcohol, or psychological issues that may have contributed to the charges against them. The successful completion of probation results in charges being dropped, but failure may mean the immediate imposition of full sentences.
- Pretrial Intervention (PTI) requires 1 to 3 years on average of court-supervised probation. The judge may require psychological and/or drug and alcohol evaluations, counseling, completion of a rehabilitation program, and random urine tests.
- Veterans’ Diversion. Active and retired service members charged with nonviolent crimes may enter diversion if they have been diagnosed with a mental illness or if police, family members, or friends testify to them having exhibited symptoms of mental illness. The program provides behavioral health and addiction counseling.
Your weapons offense attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will work to obtain a resolution to the criminal charges that you are facing that is as favorable as possible. Our attorneys are able to negotiate deals for our clients because they have built trusting professional relationships with prosecutors working in Paterson over several decades of legal practice in Passaic County.
Contact Us About Passaic County Weapons Charges
The attorneys of the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have more than 200 years of combined legal experience defending Passaic County residents and people throughout New Jersey against criminal charges, including weapons charges. Our knowledge and experience allow us to offer aggressive and effective defense against even the most damaging charges. Our local connections ensure prosecutors will listen when we propose alternative theories of the case or reasons to dismiss, reduce, or defer charges in favor of probationary programs.
Being arrested is the beginning of a long process that does not necessarily have to lead to a guilty verdict. We can provide a defense that offers you a reason to be optimistic. Our office represents defendants facing charges that originate in Paterson, Little Falls, Wayne, Clifton, Hawthorne, Haledon, and Passaic City. Call toll free (877) 450-8301 or contact us online as soon as possible for a free consultation about how we can help you fight the charges you face.