Burlington County Pointing a Firearm Defense Attorneys
In the heat of the moment, you and everyone else may do something you later regret. Whether tensions rise on the road or in a public park, losing control and brandishing a firearm can lead to a lifetime of regret. New Jersey classifies brandishing or pointing a firearm as aggravated assault, even if you only intended to scare someone with an unloaded gun. Regardless of your ability to harm another, pointing a gun at someone can lead to a prison term, a high fine, and a criminal record.
If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and possibly other offenses for allegedly waving or pointing a gun at someone in New Jersey, you are best advised to get skilled legal help from a criminal defense lawyer who can tirelessly protect your interests in the face of these serious criminal charges and penalties. Our Burlington County criminal defense attorneys at Proetta, Oliver, & Fay stand up for our clients when dealing with prosecutors who are tough on gun crime. When defending against gun brandishing charges and those that typically accompany aggravated assault for pointing a firearm at others in Mount Holly, Mount Laurel, Cinnaminson, Evesham, Pemberton, Riverside, Bordentown, or another town in Southern New Jersey, contact us at (609) 850-8284 for a free consultation with a steely attorney. We can handle what you are up against and our defense team is available now to discuss your case.
Charged with Aggravated Assault for Brandishing a Gun in New Jersey
New Jersey law forbids anyone from knowingly pointing a firearm at someone under circumstances that show “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” regardless of whether the gun is loaded or not (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(4)). A firearm is any gun that fires bullets or other solid or gas projectiles, such as a slug, pellet, missile, or vapor (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(f)). In other words, pointing an air gun or bb gun is considered aggravated assault as much as pointing a rifle is.
Pointing a Firearm at Law Enforcement Enhanced Crime Degree in NJ
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(9) defines one type of aggravated assault as knowingly pointing or displaying a firearm at or towards law enforcement under circumstances that show extreme indifference to the value of another’s life. N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(10) is another form of aggravated assault by knowingly pointing or displaying a fake firearm at or toward a law enforcement officer to threaten, intimidate or place the officer in fear of bodily injury or for any illegal purpose. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(v) defines a fake or imitation firearm as one that one can mistake for a firearm.
Importance of Knowledge
One key component of all three types of pointing a firearm is knowledge. In other words, a gun owner sitting in their living room cleaning their gun may accidentally point the gun at the front window while a neighbor is approaching the front door and sees the gun. Since they did not knowingly point a gun at the neighbor, it is unlikely an aggravated assault offense.
Meaning of Extreme Indifference to the Value of Human Life
Two sections specifically refer to the circumstances that show indifference to human life. In other words, when someone points a gun at someone during a rage-fueled argument to cause the victim fear of getting injured or losing their life, that shows indifference to the value of human life. The gun could go off intentionally or accidentally, but also a pointed threat to someone causes the target individual to experience extreme fear.
Penalties for Violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)
All three sections fall under aggravated assault, but the penalties differ. A violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(4), pointing a firearm at an individual, is a fourth degree crime punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. However, brandishing a firearm at law enforcement, whether with an actual or imitation firearm, is a third degree crime. A conviction could mean three to five years of imprisonment and a $15,000.00 fine. In addition, gun crimes are subject to the Graves Act, which requires a mandatory minimum period that a convicted individual serves before becoming eligible for parole, one-third to one-half the sentence.
Examples of Cases in Burlington County Involving Pointing a Weapon
When an individual at Burlington County Human Services facility argues with another person at the facility and then drives by the victim’s car and points a gun at them, the one accused of brandishing the weapon faces arrest and aggravated assault charges, among other gun-related charges. That is what happened in one case in Westampton in Burlington County, NJ, when the police arrived on the scene and spoke to a witness to the incident. The arrest and charges followed.
A third Burlington County case arose at Sylvan Lake in Burlington Township, after an alleged fight between two men during which one man was arrested based on accusations that he pointed a gun at the other and pulled the trigger. Although the gun was reportedly empty, the police arrested the man after they found the gun grip on him and the rest of the gun on a neighbor’s lawn. The defendant in this case must defend against charges of aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.
In all three cases, the defendants faced multiple charges for one incident involving pointing a gun. The circumstances all involved tempers flaring and someone pulling a gun.
Arrests for Pointing a Firearm Can Lead to Other Charges in NJ
New Jersey gun laws punish various offenses arising from a single incident of weapons brandishing, such as several unlawful possession charges and terroristic threat charges. Thus, by pulling out a gun and knowingly pointing it at another, the actor often faces multiple criminal charges and a lengthy prison sentence for a conviction.
New Jersey restricts gun possession to specific locations, and the law excludes those who would threaten the public and themselves with a firearm from possessing weapons, such as the mentally ill or those with criminal histories. The state also punishes those who handle weapons to commit crimes. A conviction for possessing a weapon for unlawful purposes is a second degree crime with a 5 to 10 year prison sentence with up to $150,000.00 in fines for a conviction. As one might expect, the years and dollars add up for several gun and weapons-related criminal convictions.
Contact Mount Holly Brandishing a Gun Lawyers Today
Following an arrest for a pointing a firearm in Lumberton, Delanco, Delran, Springfield, Medford, Moorestown, Eastampton, or elsewhere in Burlington County, New Jersey, you want an attorney with experience whittling down the charges, negotiating for lighter sentences, and litigating criminal cases in Superior Court, as Graves Act mandates may be unavoidable unless your attorney can help you defeat the charges at trial or get a waiver. Speak to a dedicated criminal lawyer on our defense team regarding your charges for brandishing a weapon and find out more about how we can support you in pursuit of the optimal outcome. Contact us online to request a free consultation or call (609) 850-8284 24/7.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Jersey City, Edison, Middletown, Cranford, Burlington, and Hamilton. All major credit cards are accepted.
525 Highway 73, Suite 104, Marlton, New Jersey 08053 Phone: 609-850-8284 By Appointment Only
100 Horizon Center Boulevard, Hamilton, New Jersey, 08691 By Appointment Only
Point Pleasant Office
3828 River Road,
Suite A, Point Pleasant,
New Jersey 08742
By Appointment Only
180 Kings Highway, Middletown Township, New Jersey 07748 By Appointment Only