What is a “Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons″ Offense in New Jersey?
Monmouth County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain “Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons”
Among the many weapons charges in New Jersey is an offense known as “Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons.” This offense, outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, criminalizes the possession of a weapon by prohibited persons. In New Jersey, a prohibited person may be an individual who was previously convicted of a felony or an individual who was previously institutionalized with a mental illness. Notably, a previous felony conviction need not have occurred in New Jersey, but may have occurred anywhere in the United States. During the firearms application process, a background check will access a federal database revealing any previous convictions, which will then prevent a gun ownership permit from being issued. If you meet the criteria for “certain persons” and are found in possession of a firearm or other prohibited weapon, you can be charged criminally with two separate offenses: unlawful possession of a weapon and a “Certain Persons” offense. These charges are incredibly serious, entailing harsh penalties including a period of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison for those convicted.
At Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington, our highly experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys have been defending clients charged with weapons offenses in Freehold, Middletown, Red Bank, and elsewhere in Monmouth County for over 50 years. With extensive knowledge of New Jersey weapons laws, particularly those involving firearms, we are equipped to vigorously defend your rights in court and if necessary, to negotiate with the prosecution to achieve a more favorable outcome. With your freedom on the line, there is no time to delay in formulating your defense strategy. Contact our Monmouth County offices today at 732-440-3950 or call toll free at 888-328-9131 for a cost-free consultation.
Who Qualifies as a “Certain Person” in New Jersey?
In order to fully understand New Jersey law regarding Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7), we must first address what qualifies an individual as a “Certain Person.” Under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, you are a certain person if you:
- Have been convicted in New Jersey, another state within the United States, or elsewhere, of any of the following crimes:
- Have been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium unless you possess a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that you are no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes with or handicaps you in the handling of a firearm; or
- Have been convicted of (other than a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense) for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance; or
- Have been convicted of an offense arising in the context of domestic violence
What is Considered a “Weapon” in New Jersey?
The second critical component of a certain persons offense is the weapon itself. In New Jersey, many items that may otherwise escape consideration are, in fact, classified as weapons under New Jersey law. The following items or articles are legally considered weapons and thus, may give rise to a certain persons charge if possessed by an eligible individual: destructive devices, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, defaced firearms, stun guns, gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, billies, blackjacks, metal knuckles, sand clubs, slingshots, ballistic knives, hollow-point bullets, leather bands studded with metal filings, or razor blades embedded in wood.
Penalties for Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7
A Certain Persons Offense is considered a Second Degree Crime, punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, if the defendant has been convicted of any of the aforementioned crimes and is found in possession of a firearm.
A Certain Persons Offense is considered a Third Degree Crime, punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison, if the defendant was previously convicted of a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence and is found in possession of a firearm.
NOTE: Second and third degree charges for Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons are governed by New Jersey’s Graves Act, which requires the imposition of a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater. Essentially, the mandatory minimum is the period that must be served before an individual becomes eligible for parole.
A Certain Persons Offense is considered a Fourth Degree Crime, punishable by a maximum term of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison, if the defendant satisfies any of the criteria for a “certain person” and is found in possession of any of the above weapons other than a firearm.
Contact Monmouth County NJ Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons Lawyers for Your Defense
Charges for any weapons offense in New Jersey can spell severe consequences if you are found guilty. Certain persons offenses are no exception, with long-term implications that can hinder your life and jeopardize your freedom and your future. Contact our skilled criminal defense lawyers today at 732-440-3950 for the answers you need. We offer free initial consultations.