A New Jersey statute prohibits an individual from “knowingly” possessing certain weapons including a gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy, blackjack, and metal or brass knuckle “without any explainable lawful purpose”. A violation of this statute is a crime of the fourth degree.
Embedded in the law is a presumption that the enumerated weapons are possessed for an unlawful purpose. The statute, however, allows an accused to come forward with an explanation of a lawful purpose. Thus, if a defendant, who has been charged with a violation of this statute can show that there was an explainable lawful purpose associated with his possession of a specified weapon, the burden returns to the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the possession of the weapon was for an unlawful purpose
In order to establish an explainable lawful purpose, “any” evidence or “very slight” evidence or “some” evidence will suffice. Moreover, the evidence can come “from whatever source” , including the government’s case.
If you have been charged with a weapons or gun offense in the state of New Jersey, the consequences of a criminal conviction can be significant. It is imperative that you engage a criminal defense lawyer immediately especially one who has long experiences with the criminal law. Frank T. Luciano has been a criminal defense lawyer in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson County for over 40 years. He is a longtime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL) and a lifetime member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). He has defended many individuals charged with weapons and gun crimes. You can assess Frank T. Luciano’s skills by visiting his Testimonials page on his website.