When arguments become physical, your exposure to criminal charges multiply. Depending on the circumstances of the incident and whether or not you were in possession of a “weapon”, you could be arrested, imprisoned and charged Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in Burlington County. Generally, when physical altercations occur and weapons are involved, the officers with detain you under a warrant complaint. This means that Pretrial Services with do a risk assessment and the Burlington County Prosecutor may file a motion to have you detained with without bail and until trial. If you or someone you love were arrested and charged with a weapons offense in New Jersey and are facing a Detention Hearing, contact the Burlington County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Proetta, Oliver & Fay in Mount Laurel. For more information on your pending criminal charges or to speak with an attorney about possible legal defenses, contact our Mount Laurel office at (609) 850-8284.
N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 Charges for Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
If you were charged issued a criminal complaint for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, then you likely want to learn this means under New Jersey Laws N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4. Under New Jersey’s criminal code, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose can be based on different forms of conduct. Each involves a different set of facts, proofs and penalties. The most common types of charges are as follows:
N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a) Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose
◊ “Any person who has in his possession any firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another” ◊ Subsection (a) is a second degree indictable felony offense. Additionally, because it involves a firearm, it also falls under New Jersey’s Graves Act. This means that a conviction or guilty plea will result in up to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Penitentiary (with mandatory minimum parole ineligibility period between 3 and 5 years) and up to $150,000 fine.
N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose
◊ “Any person who has in his possession any weapon with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another” ◊ Subsection (d) involves anything that is considered a “weapon” under New Jersey law. This has generally been accepted as any item “readily capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.” This section is a third degree indictable felony offense that is handled by the Burlington County Superior Court, carries up to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison and a $15,000 fine.
N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(e) Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose
◊ “Any person who has in his possession an imitation firearm under circumstances that would lead an observer to reasonably believe that it is possessed for an unlawful purpose” ◊ Subsection (e) is unique in the sense that it doesn’t actually involve a weapon. Instead, this subsection looks to what a person would belief the defendant possessed, therefore leaving a great deal of interpretation. As a fourth degree indictable felony offense, a conviction or guilty plea will carry upwards of eighteen (18) months in State Prison and a $10,000 fine.
Will There Be a Detention Hearing for Weapons Charges in NJ?
Due to New Jersey overhaul of the pretrial bail system, defendants are no longer sitting in jail because they lack the funds to post a relatively low bail amount. However, in replace of this system is a pretrial bail system that reviews every criminal case on an individual basis. For indictable charges like possession of weapon for an unlawful purpose, you will likely be arrested and held in the Burlington County Jail for a period of 24 to 48 hours while Pretrial Services completes a Public Safety Assessment (PSA). You will then be brought before a judge where the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office will make a determination as to whether or not they want to file a motion for your detention pretrial. If such a motion is filed then you will remain detained until a formal Detention Hearing can be held and your public defender or private attorney can argue for you release, with conditions, during the process of your case. If the judge decides to detain you pretrial because the risk you pose to the public outweighs the restriction that your incarceration imposes, then you will be forced to remain in jail for the entirety of your case. For this reason, it is imperative that you find an experienced lawyer to represent you immediately after you have been arrested.
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