Trenton Robbery Victim Charged With Unlawful Possession of a Handgun

Trenton NJ Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Defense Attorneys

Sometimes you can’t win for losing. That phrase has never been more true than for Trenton resident Victor Rodriguez. Rodriguez was visiting a friend on Wednesday, February 28th on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Trenton NJ when he was approached by two men. One man was brandishing a shotgun, the other holding a knife.

Silver Gun

The two men took Rodriguez’s coat, which had some money in it, took the handgun that was tucked in Rodriguez’s waistband, and then drove off. Rodriguez reported the incident to the Trenton police. He noted to the police that he was the legal owner of the handgun that was taken. However, much to Rodriguez’s chagrin, he did not have a permit to carry the gun. Accordingly, the Trenton police charged Rodriguez with unlawful possession of a weapon. There is no information as to whether the two robbers were ever apprehended.

This piece of news has some interesting takeaways. First, while a person can be a victim of a crime such as armed robbery, he or she could still wind up getting charged with something, as Rodriguez’s case amply demonstrates.

Moreover, given the current gun debate raging in our country, this case seems to undermine the oft-recited adage by gun advocates that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Well, Rodriguez, for all intents and purposes, was the “good guy with a gun.” Yet, even though he had a gun readily available in his waistband, he was still the victim of a robbery.

Thank goodness nothing worse happened in the incident, yet it does leave an open question as to why Rodriguez even carried the gun. It did not protect him during the robbery, and even worse, it resulted in a charge against him because he should not have been carrying it in the first place. At the end of the day, it is a relief that Mr. Rodriguez is safe and can tell this unusual story of a victim becoming the defendant.

Given that Rodriguez was the victim of a robbery and was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon himself, it is helpful to learn a little more about those offenses.

The Crimes of Robbery and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in Mercer County New Jersey

Robbery is not the same as theft or stealing. For a theft to become a robbery, the theft has to have a threat, or use, of violence associated with it. To explain with an example, if someone surreptitiously takes your wallet, that person committed theft. However, if someone pointed a gun at you to get your wallet, then that person committed robbery.

The law of robbery New Jersey is outlined at N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. The law indicates that a person is guilty of robbery if he or she:

  • Inflicts bodily injury,
  • Uses force, or
  • Threatens to use force during the course of a theft.

Robbery is typically charged as a second-degree crime, which means that a conviction could lead to a possible 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

However, a Robbery will be charged as a first-degree offense if during the course of the theft the person attempts to kill a person, inflicts serious bodily injury on a person, or threatens a person with a deadly weapon. A shotgun or knife, such as in this case, would clearly be a deadly weapon. First-degree robbery conviction (e.g. armed robbery) could result in a 10 to 20 year prison sentence.

Compared to other states, New Jersey has rather strict gun laws. That is partly why Mr. Rodriguez was charged with a crime. While he had a permit to own a gun in New Jersey, he needs a further permit to conceal and carry that weapon. The requirements for a “carry and conceal” permit are stringent in New Jersey.

The unlawful possession of a weapons offense can be found at New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. Under the law, it is illegal to possess any type of firearm without a permit or license. The statute covers machine guns, handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Specifically, unlawful possession of a machine gun is a second-degree offense, again leading to a possible 5 to 10 years in prison. Unlawful possession of a handgun, the offense Mr. Rodriguez was likely charged with, is a third-degree offense, which could lead to 3 to 5 years in prison upon conviction.

Mercer County Possession of a Weapon Lawyers Are Here to Help You

Mr. Rodriguez would benefit from the help of a lawyer with experience with gun possession cases. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have an extensive background defending clients with weapons possession charges. Call us for a free case review. Our number is (609) 683-8102. Marshall Firm lawyers are standing by to assist you 24/7. Call today.

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