Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose

NJ Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose Lawyer

NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Helps You Fight Charges of Possessing Weapon for Unlawful Purposes

If you have been charged with a gun crime in New Jersey, you need to talk to an NJ possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose lawyer immediately. Right now, you are probably worried about what may be in store for you. It is important for you to understand that the consequences of a gun crime conviction are often severe because New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the entire country: a conviction for unlawful possession of a weapon, unlawful disposition of a firearm, or possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose could land you behind bars in NJ state prison for a very long time. Moreover, even if you have a valid license or permit to carry a firearm, you can still be charged with a weapons offense. In fact, you could potentially face a weapons charge for carrying an object like a knife, a baseball bat, or brass knuckles. And a conviction will likely bring mandatory prison time.

The best thing you can do right now is speak with an NJ gun crimes attorney who is capable of representing you. Frank T. Luciano has decades of experience defending clients against weapons offense charges in Hackensack, Paramus, Elmwood Park, and across New Jersey. Contact Mr. Luciano now to discuss your case.

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 – Charges for Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in New Jersey

Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose is codified in the New Jersey criminal code under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4. The statute makes it illegal for anyone to carry a weapon with the intent to use the weapon for unlawful purposes. If this sounds vague, that’s because NJ lawmakers wanted the statute to be vague so that prosecutors would have broad discretion to bring criminal charges against violators of the law.

As set forth by the criminal code, the crime of possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose involves three main elements:

  1. A weapon. When it comes to this element, just about anything can potentially be classified as a “weapon” because the relevant law covers any object capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. The statute specifically mentions firearms, explosive devices, destructive devices, and imitation firearms, as well as “other weapons.” The last category can be interpreted to include knives, slingshots, and razor blades, among other objects.
  2. Possession. The prosecution must prove that the defendant possessed the weapon in question. However, possession can be either actual or constructive. This means that as long as the weapon was nearby and the defendant had the ability to exercise control over the weapon, it may constitute constructive possession.
  3. Intent. The final element of the statute is that the defendant intended to use the weapon for unlawful purposes. This typically means that the defendant planned to commit an act of violence, or some other criminal act, with the weapon. Note that actual use isn’t required here – merely the intent to use the weapon.

The last element of intent is one that can often be challenged by a skilled criminal defense attorney. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to show that you actually had a lawful purpose when you possessed the weapon. For example, you may have been found with a rifle that you planned to use later while hunting. Or you may have been found in possession of a handgun that you obtained for the purposes of self-defense or to protect someone else. Or perhaps you inherited a semi-automatic shotgun from a relative and did not realize that you were in violation of NJ gun laws by keeping the weapon. A qualified attorney can help you determine the best defenses in your weapons possession case.

What Are the Penalties for Possessing a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in Fort Lee, NJ?

If you are convicted of possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose in New Jersey, there is a high likelihood that you could be sentenced to significant prison time because certain weapons carry a presumption of incarceration. The precise penalties vary, depending on the type of weapon:

  • Firearm: Anyone convicted of possessing a firearm, explosive, or destructive device with the intent to use the weapon for an illegal purpose can be charged with a second degree crime. Second degree gun crimes come with a sentence of 5-10 years in NJ state prison, as well as parole ineligibility.
  • Deadly Weapon: If you are convicted of possessing any other potentially deadly weapon (such as a knife or razor blade) with the intent to use the weapon for an unlawful purpose, you could be sentenced to 3-5 years in NJ state prison.
  • Imitation Firearm: Although it might seem strange that a person would be charged with possession of an imitation firearm to commit an illegal act, the offense is very real and comes with significant jail time. A person convicted under the statute for possessing a BB gun, paintball gun, or Airsoft gun for an unlawful purpose is subject to a sentence of up to 18 months in NJ state prison.

These penalties may be enhanced if you actually used the weapon during the commission of another crime. For instance, a person accused of using a handgun during an armed robbery is likely to also face criminal charges for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Since the sentences for each crime can be imposed consecutively and stacked on top of each other, it is very important that you have a knowledgeable NJ criminal defense lawyer handling your case.

Related Charge: Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in Hackensack, NJ

Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose charge are often accompanied by other weapons charges. For instance, a person who is found in possession of a loaded handgun without a valid carry permit could potentially be charged with both possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and illegal possession of a handgun. The additional criminal charges give the prosecution leverage against you because the penalties can be stacked on top of each other, meaning significant prison time if you are convicted on all charges at trial.

Elmwood Park Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Beat Your Handgun Charges in New Jersey

Do not take any chances when it comes to your freedom. If you have been charged with possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose, you probably face other criminal charges as well. Statistically speaking, your odds of avoiding conviction and staying out of prison for a New Jersey weapons offense improve greatly when you have an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney representing you. Without an attorney, your chances of avoiding prison time for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose are greatly reduced.

NJ gun crimes attorney Frank T. Luciano is prepared to help you fight your criminal charges for possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Unlike other lawyers who are motivated solely by earning money and would like nothing better than to quickly move on to their next case, Mr. Luciano prides himself on providing each client with his undivided attention and unmatched expertise. When you hire Mr. Luciano for your gun crime case, you will be getting an attorney who understands the NJ criminal code inside and out, as well as a lawyer who will aggressively represent you at trial. Visit the Testimonials page on this website to read glowing reviews from Mr. Luciano’s past clients.

Free Initial Consultation with Paramus Possession of a Handgun for an Unlawful Purpose Attorney Frank T. Luciano

Frank T. Luciano is a New Jersey weapons offense lawyer with several decades of experience defending clients against criminal charges in Bergen County, Passaic County, Hudson County, and across New Jersey. You can call or email Mr. Luciano anytime to schedule a free initial consultation.

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From a former client charged with a serious weapons offense

"At the time, I was mortified because, having only worked against you in the Prosecutor’s Office, I couldn’t picture being on the same side. Frank, I want to thank you for the pleasure of having worked with you over the past years. I have learned a great deal from you. Most importantly, I learned that cases were not always as black and white as I thought they were when I worked for the Prosecutor’s Office. You are a wonderful attorney who not only works hard, but also cares deeply about his clients. Frank, I think you are the best."


From a former investigator of a county prosecutor’s office and retired private investigator

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