Cherry Hill Attorneys Handle Weapons Offense Cases

New Jersey lawyers defend clients against charges involving firearms possession

When dealing with firearms offenses and weapons charges, New Jersey’s stringent gun laws demand the expertise of a skilled and effective defense attorney. At Lackey & Miller, LLC, our team of experienced former prosecutors is committed to providing South Jersey residents with knowledgeable advice and unwavering advocacy.  From our office located in Cherry Hill, we are dedicated to safeguarding the rights of our clients facing gun charges and other offenses related to the use and possession of weapons. Our comprehensive understanding of both sides of the legal process empowers us to build strong defenses and pursue the best possible outcomes for our clients.

State laws relating to guns and other weapons

If you have been arrested on a weapons-related offense, the first thing you should do is contact a criminal defense lawyer who is deeply familiar with cases involving the following charges:

  • Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5) — Under New Jersey’s stringent gun laws, the illegal possession of a handgun is a second-degree crime, which carries a penalty of five to ten years of imprisonment upon conviction, along with a mandatory parole ineligibility period of forty-two months pursuant to the Graves Act. The unlawful possession of a rifle or shotgun is a third-degree offense, which carries a potential penalty of three to five years imprisonment upon conviction. Cases involving other weapons, defined as anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily harm, are prosecuted as fourth-degree crimes, potentially leading to a maximum incarceration period of eighteen months upon conviction.
  • Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4) — Even if a person is authorized or licensed to possess a firearm or other weapon, it is a crime in New Jersey to possess a weapon with the purpose of using it against someone else for an unlawful act. Possessing a firearm, explosive or destructive device for an unlawful purpose is a second-degree crime, which carries a penalty of five to ten years of imprisonment upon conviction. If the weapon is a firearm, the defendant is subject to the mandatory parole ineligibility period of forty-two months pursuant to the Graves Act. Possessing other weapons for unlawful purposes is a third-degree crime and imitation firearms are fourth-degree crimes.   
  • Pointing a Firearm (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(4)) — In New Jersey, if you knowingly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, point a firearm at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded, you could be charged with aggravated assault which is a fourth-degree crime, with a potential maximum sentence of eighteen months upon conviction.
  • Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7) — Several offenses in New Jersey, if convicted, result in a complete prohibition on the possession of a weapon, especially a firearm, regardless of any exceptions outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6. When an individual is convicted of specific offenses outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, they become ineligible to possess a weapon, even if they would otherwise fall under the firearm permit exceptions, such as possessing a weapon in their home or residence, a place of business, or a firing range. If the weapon you possess is a firearm, it is a second-degree crime which carries a penalty of five to ten years of imprisonment upon conviction, and a mandatory parole ineligibility period of five years. Any sentence for an underlying firearm conviction would run consecutive for the certain persons conviction.  
  • Weapons; Controlled Dangerous Substances And Other Offenses (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4.1) — Any person who has in his possession any firearm or other weapon while in the course of committing, or attempting to commit, or conspiring to manufacture or distribute a controlled dangerous substance is guilty of a second-degree crime, which carries a penalty of five to ten years of imprisonment upon conviction with a mandatory forty-two months parole ineligibility pursuant to the Graves Act. Additionally, any sentence for the underlying drug conviction must be served consecutively to the sentence for this weapons conviction, which could increase the amount of time spent incarcerated substantially.   

These are only a few of New Jersey’s many weapons and firearms offenses. It is important to note that any weapons offense is taken very seriously by law enforcement and prosecutors in New Jersey. If you are facing charges related to the possession of firearms or other weapons, it is crucial to have experienced criminal defense lawyers by your side to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome for your case.

Potential defenses to weapons charges

Though New Jersey has tough weapons laws, there are many potential defenses that could allow you to defeat one of these charges, such as:

  • Lack of knowledge — In scenarios where multiple individuals frequently inhabit a residence, even if not on a full-time basis, it is conceivable that a person may be unaware that someone else has concealed a firearm or another type of weapons on the premises. A weapon could remain concealed under a bed or within a closet for extended periods, during which an individual may remain entirely unaware of its presence.  A similar situation could arise in a motor vehicle, where a weapon is concealed in a trunk and the driver is unaware of its presence, especially in a borrowed vehicle. Either scenario can lead to serious consequences if law enforcement discovers the weapons during a search.  
  • Illegal search — Irrespective of the evidence discovered during a search, if law enforcement officers enter a home or a vehicle without obtaining proper consent, a warrant, or a legally recognized exception to a warrant requirement, the evidence they collect may be subject to exclusion at trial. We understand the importance of upholding constitutional rights and ensuring that evidence is obtained legally. Each case is unique and fact-sensitive, and we will meticulously examine the circumstances of your case to determine if any constitutional violations occurred during the search.
  • Lack of unlawful purpose — Many items such as knives and baseball bats, have legitimate uses that are unrelated to criminal activity. In cases where a charge of possession for an unlawful purpose is brought against a defendant, it may not be warranted if the individual can demonstrate that they had the purported “weapon” for a lawful and legitimate reason and not for any criminal activity that may have occurred.
  • Self-defense — In what is usually a tense situation when police respond to a scene where a weapon has been used, their initial perspective might not accurately reflect the full context of the incident. If you were acting in self-defense, it is essential to have strong legal representation to gather the necessary evidence and present a clear picture of what actually happened. We understand the importance of establishing the truth and ensuring that your side of the story is heard in these circumstances. Our experienced attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation, gathering witness statements, surveillance footage, and any other relevant evidence to support your claim of self-defense. 

As former prosecutors, our firm possesses a unique advantage in defending our clients. With our extensive experience on the other side of the courtroom, we can swiftly identify weaknesses in the cases brought against our clients and skillfully challenge any misleading, insufficient, or improperly collected evidence, and attack weaknesses in the cases brought against our clients.  

Contact a Camden County lawyer if you’ve been accused of a weapon offense  

Lackey & Miller, LLC represents clients across South Jersey who have been charged with crimes related to the alleged possession, sale, or use of a weapon. To discuss your case with a qualified attorney, please call 856-399-0089 or contact us online