Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Trenton Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Defense Lawyer

Every unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon offense filed in Mercer County eventually makes its way to Trenton for resolution. The reason is because this is the location of the Superior Court which has jurisdiction over all indictable felony crimes of the fourth degree, third degree or second degree like unlawful possession of a weapon. Finding a defense lawyer with experience defending unlawful possession charges in this venue is pivotal to your putting yourself in the best position if your have been charged with this offense. The attorneys on the staff of the Marshall Law Firm have this pedigree with eight members that have over a century in practice combined, including time serving as prosecutors. If you were arrested in Trenton, Hamilton, West Windsor, Lawrence, Ewing or another area municipality and are facing a charge for unlawful possession of a firearm or another type of weapon, an attorney at our firm possesses the tools to navigate the court system in your favor. To speak to one of our lawyers immediately, contact our office for a free consultation.

Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in Mercer County New Jersey

The offense known as unlawful possession of a weapon is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. The severity of a criminal charge under this law depends on whether the weapon is a handgun, rifle, shotgun, assault rifle, shotgun or other weapon. The headings that follow detail the important aspects of this statute for those charged under 2C:39-5.

Rifle or Shotgun

Possession of a rifle or shotgun is unlawful under 2C:39-5(c)(1) by someone who lacks a firearms purchaser identification card. A conviction for this offense is a third degree crime.

Material Elements

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office must establish four elements in order to convict someone of unlawful possession of a firearm including that: (1) the instrument was a rifle or shotgun; (2) actually or constructively possessed by the accused; (3) he/she knew he possessed a rifle or shotgun; and (4) the actor lacked a firearms purchaser ID card.


Unlawful possession of a firearm other than a handgun is, as previously stated, a third degree crime. The penalties that apply to this charge include up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Temporary Transfer or Transport Excluded.

Temporary possession of a rifle or shotgun by a person receiving, possessing, carrying or using the weapon in conformity with N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3.1 is excluded from unlawful possession under 2C:39-5(c).

Machine Guns

Possession of a machine gun is a second degree crime that falls under the Graves Act. An individual convicted of unlawful possession of a machine gun faces 5-10 years in prison with a period of parole ineligibility of at least 5 years.

Other Weapons

It is a fourth degree crime to be in possession of any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses. New Jersey Courts have interpreted the phrase “not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses” as not easily understood or recognized as being appropriate for the use presented by the accused. The classic example used to provide an understanding of this concept is the defendant who is carrying a large kitchen knife while committed a theft or some other variety of criminal offense. To convict an individual of unlawful possession of a weapon that is not a firearm, the state must prove that: (1) the object is a weapon (e.g. capable of causing injury); (2) possessed by the accused; (3) knowingly; and (4) under circumstances that were not manifestly appropriate for lawful use. Fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon results in a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison.

Ewing Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Attorney

Ewing is one of the more populated municipalities in Mercer County and also happens to border Trenton so it historically has more unlawful possession of a firearm cases than locations like East Windsor, Hopewell Township, Hightstown, Princeton or Robbinsville. Whether you were charged with violating 2C:39-5 in Ewing or another town in the county, what is crucial is that you get sound guidance from a knowledgeable attorney immediately. The team of lawyers at our firm can offer you the level of qualification you need in this stressful time. Our former prosecutors and seasoned criminal attorneys have decades of experience handling handgun, rifle, shotgun and other weapon charges in Trenton. For an immediate free consultation with an lawyer on our staff, call our office at 609–683–8102.

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