Weapons / Firearm Forfeiture
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-21(d)(1), in addition to a law enforcement office’s authority to seize any weapon that is contraband, evidence or an instrumentality of a crime, a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed shall (a) question persons present to determine whether there are weapons on the premises; and (b) upon observing or learning that a weapon is present on the premises, seize any weapon that the officer reasonably believes would expose the victim to a risk of serious bodily injury. If a law enforcement officer seizes any firearm, the officer shall also seize any firearm purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the person accused of the act of domestic violence.Fighting Weapon Seizure Following Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order
In many cases, after a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is issued, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office will file a Motion to Forfeit Firearms, which is heard before a Mercer County Superior Court, Family Part judge. If the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is seeking to have you permanently forfeit any firearm seized in accordance with the Prevention of Domestic Act, it must file a formal motion within a certain period of time from the date of seizure. If the formal motion is filed, a hearing will be held in which Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office may claim that you are either statutorily barred from possessing a New Jersey Firearm’s Purchaser Identification Card, and therefore, statutorily barred from legally possessing a firearm in New Jersey, or that a return of your weapon is not “in the interest of the public health safety or welfare.”
This can be devastating if you own firearms to hunt and/or target shoot or if you simply collect them. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been successful in arguing against the permanent forfeiture of firearms seized after a domestic violence episode and also in supplying the appropriate medical reports and/or psychological evaluations required for the prosecutor’s office to consent to withdrawing its motion and return the weapons seized in accordance with the law.