Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes

Trenton Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose Defense Attorney

A fairly common offense in Mercer County weapon cases possession for an unlawful purpose under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4. This charge can result in a crime of the second degree, third degree or fourth degree, all of which are felony criminal charges that carry a state prison term. If you have been charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, your mission needs to be finding the best defense attorney you can find to defend you at the Superior Court in Trenton. The county courthouse in Trenton is the only place with authority to deal with a felony weapon offense. Whether you were arrested for possession for an unlawful purpose in Hamilton, Ewing, Trenton, Lawrence, Princeton or another town, Trenton is where your case will be heard and our lawyers are adapt in defending charges at this venue. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall our team of criminal attorneys have over 100 years experience defending weapon charges in Trenton. A defense attorney at the firm, including one of our several former prosecutors, is available to assist you at 609–683–8102. Contact us anytime 24/7 to speak to a lawyer immediately.

Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose Offense

As previously stated, a charge for possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose arises out of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4. The application of this law varies depending on whether the weapon is a firearm, explosives, destructive device, imitation firearm or other weapon. The headings that follow discuss the important aspects of this statute.

Elements of Offense

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office must prove that the accused: (1) possessed an item; (2) that was a weapon (e.g. firearm, explosive device, imitation firearm or another weapon); (3) had a purpose to use the object against person or property; and (4) the use is unlawful/illegal.

Definition of Unlawful Purpose

Any purpose to use a weapon unlawfully against person or property basically suffices pursuant to this law. Mere possession is not enough to trigger, however, a violation of 2C:39-4. The accused must have a criminal intent or purpose for the offense to be committed. Possession of a knife, handgun, rifle, shotgun or other weapon for sport or another lawful purpose therefore falls outside of this law.

Possession of a Weapon

Just like a drug or cds offense, possession of a weapon can be actual or constructive. Actual possession involves direct physical custody of the gun or other object. Constructive possession arises when some lacks physical control but is aware of the presence of the weapon and the ability and intent to take control of it in the future.


Possession of a firearm or explosives for an unlawful purpose is a second degree crime. Possessing a weapon that is something other than a firearm is a third degree crime. It is fourth degree crime to possess an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose.

Penalties & Sentencing Issues

A second degree crime for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose results in a fine of up to $150,00 and 5-10 years in prison. Third degree possession for an unlawful purpose carries up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Possessing an imitation weapon for an unlawful purpose as a fourth degree crime triggers a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months of imprisonment.

Ewing NJ Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose Lawyer

Ewing ranks third in population in Mercer County so it makes sense that it has more individuals arrested for possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose than most in the region. If you were charged with violating 2C:39-4 in this or a municipality like East Windsor, Robbinsville, Hightstown, West Windsor or Hopewell Township, hiring a lawyer that is skilled in defending handgun and other weapon charges is pivotal to protect yourself. An attorney at the Marshall Firm is here to serve you in this capacity with decades of experience defending possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes charges. Call us today at 609–683–8102 for an immediate consultation.

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