New Jersey Red Flag Law Attorney
Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains the Newly Enacted “Red Flag” Gun Control Legislation in New Jersey
Gun violence and gun control has become a hot-button issue in politics, the legislature and even everyday citizens’ daily lives. While New Jersey already has some of the toughest gun regulations in the country, the substantial media coverage surrounding mass shootings throughout the nation has heightened calls for even stronger regulation of guns and other weapons. So-called “red flag laws”—which would allow law enforcement to more easily confiscate guns from those who are deemed to pose some kind of threat to themselves or others–have come up for consideration throughout the country, and several states have already passed these new preventative measures. Effective September 1, 2019, the New Jersey government has cleared the way for our own red flag law.
The red flag law—otherwise known as an “extreme protection measure”—was passed in New Jersey in recognition of the fact that, in some cases, individuals in a would-be shooter’s life may recognize certain signals indicating impending danger prior to the act itself. While it remains to be seen how widely the law will be enforced, it stands to reason that many innocent New Jersey citizens may be caught in its crossfire. If you have questions about the red flag law, New Jersey laws governing weapons offenses generally, or if you want to explore your legal options for challenging a judicial order under the red flag law in order to repossess your firearm, schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced lawyers today.
Understanding the Basics of the New Jersey Red Flag Law
The red flag law will allow New Jersey law enforcement officers to temporarily confiscate guns from certain citizens upon meeting a relatively low evidentiary threshold after the following general procedure has been followed:
- Police, a loved one or another citizen petitions the court with evidence to support the rationale behind confiscating the gun on an emergency, temporary basis,
- The judge, upon evaluation of all of the evidence presented, determines that the person in possession of the relevant firearm poses a risk of injuring himself or others,
- The judge issues an emergency order permitting law enforcement to seize the firearms in question, or prevent an individual from purchasing a firearm, pending a subsequent hearing where a more comprehensive presentation of the evidence will occur, and
- Simultaneously with the order, the judge issues a warrant allowing law enforcement to confiscate the firearms in question.
Experienced Defense Lawyer Helps Clients Understand Relevant Legal Standards That Apply in Red Flag Cases
Under New Jersey’s version of the red flag law, the standard of proof that must be satisfied in order for the judge to issue the protective order is “reasonable, probable or good cause”—meaning that a reasonable person would believe that the owner of the firearm poses a danger to himself or others. This is one of the lowest standards of proof that can apply in courts throughout the nation for this type of “ex parte” order—which is essentially an emergency order that can be issued without the typical notice and high evidentiary standards that otherwise would apply to protect your rights.
As such, ex parte orders in New Jersey can generally only last for ten days before a more formal hearing must be held to determine whether a final order should be issued. In determining whether the final order should stand, the judge must find that the danger posed by the firearm is imminent based on a “preponderance of the evidence” standard—meaning that it is more likely than not the case that you pose a risk. One unique aspect of New Jersey law is that a final order can last indefinitely, until such a time as you can show by the same “preponderance of the evidence” standard that you do not pose a risk of using the firearm to harm yourself or others.
Call Our Skilled Cherry Hill Defense Lawyers for Help with Questions About the New Jersey Red Flag Law
At Gelman Law, LLC, we are committed to remaining innovative and we follow emerging legislative developments, such as the New Jersey red flag law, closely so that we can provide our clients with the highest quality legal representation possible. Laws change, and when you choose Gelman Law, LLC to protect your rights, you can rest assured that we are always at the cutting edge when it comes to legal trends and new developments in the courts and legislature. If you have questions about the red flag law, or have been accused of violating that law, call or contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Red Flag Law
FAQ: What are some of the relevant “warning signs” that the judge will take into consideration in determining whether the police may confiscate my firearm under the “red flag” law?
While the judge is permitted to consider all relevant evidence presented in your case, the types of evidence that will generally be most relevant involve the mental state of the firearm owner in question. Any statements—whether oral or written, such as on social media—that tend to indicate that a person is considering using his or her firearm to cause harm to others (or himself) will be relevant, as well as simple concerns that the firearm owner is not in a mental state that makes possession of a dangerous firearm advisable. Essentially, any signal that you have violent intentions can be used to support a judicial order to temporarily confiscate your firearms.
FAQ: Can the red flag law apply even if I have exhibited no intent for using my firearm to harm others?
Yes. Your loved ones can petition the court to have your firearms confiscated even if you have only indicated that you may harm yourself. Because the confiscation is merely temporary, it stands to reason that many of these protective orders may be issued upon evidence that is far from concrete proof of your intent to harm yourself or anyone else.