South Jersey Lawyers for Unlawful Possession of a Handgun
Leading Criminal Defense Lawyers Fight for Clients Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Handgun in Camden County, Burlington County and Throughout New Jersey
New Jersey penalties for unlawful possession of a handgun are among the toughest in the nation. If you are caught with an unlicensed handgun—or even an Airsoft gun—you will likely face between five and ten years in prison if convicted. Many New Jersey gun owners think that those harsh penalties won’t apply to them because they aren’t criminals and only keep guns for protection. That belief is incorrect.
At Gelman Law, LLC, our top-rated criminal defense lawyers have the experience necessary to build an effective defense in your gun charge case. Led by a former Burlington County prosecutor, our handgun possession defense lawyers know how the prosecution thinks when building a case against you. We use that knowledge and our knowledge of the law to your advantage.
When faced with serious criminal penalties associated with unlawful possession of a handgun, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side to increase the odds of a favorable outcome. Unlawful possession of a handgun is punishable by prison time and opportunities for parole are limited.
To learn more about innovative defense strategies that our South Jersey gun charge defense lawyers may use, call or contact us online for a confidential consultation.
Mandatory Minimum Jail Time for Unlawful Possession of a Handgun Conviction in Camden County, NJ
In New Jersey, almost anyone who is carrying a gun outside of their home may be found guilty of unlawful possession of a handgun. New Jersey only rarely issues carry permits for guns—and usually only if you have demonstrated that your life is in danger or you are a law enforcement officer. Strict rules apply if you even want to take your handgun to the shooting range.
Further, if you fail to obtain a permit when you purchase the gun (or when the gun is given to you), unlawful possession charges will apply. Proving unlawful possession of a handgun requires the New Jersey prosecutor to establish:
- A handgun was present,
- You knew that you had the gun, and
- You did not have a permit.
Unlawful possession of a handgun in New Jersey is a second-degree crime. Third-degree charges apply in cases involving BB guns or other types of “guns” that don’t actually shoot real bullets, yet have the capacity to cause injury. Second-degree crimes are punishable by:
- Five to ten years in prison,
- Up to $150,000 in fines,
- An indictable felony conviction on your criminal record.
Although judges do have discretion in assigning punishment within these sentencing guidelines, unlawful possession of a handgun charges are different. New Jersey enacted a strict gun law, called the Graves Act, partly because of the media attention given to shooting crimes and partly because of the danger posed by handguns generally. Under the Graves Act, if convicted, the following are true:
- You will not be eligible for parole for at least three years if convicted for unlawful possession of a handgun,
- The mandatory minimum prison sentence applies even if you have no prior criminal record,
- The mandatory minimum prison sentence applies even if no one was hurt.
These harsh penalties make it critical that you have the best possible gun charge defense lawyer advocating on your behalf. Our lead attorney has been recognized as one of the top lawyers in New Jersey by South Jersey Magazine. Experience working in the prosecution’s office means that we not only understand the basic laws and defenses—we know how the prosecutor thinks.
Respected Gun Charge Defense Lawyers Fight to Avoid Harsh Graves Act Penalties in Burlington County, NJ Unlawful Possession of a Handgun Cases
Unlawful possession of a handgun charges are difficult, but not impossible, to defend. As in all criminal matters, the judge’s willingness to assign lower penalties will depend heavily on whether you have a prior criminal record. If the unlawful possession charge is your first, the most favorable outcomes possible include:
- A Graves Act waiver that lowers your sentence from five years to three years, and period of parole ineligibility from three years to one year,
- A Graves Act waiver that allows you to serve time via non-custodial probation, so that you avoid prison (but are still left with a felony conviction on your record),
- Pre-trial intervention, which is rare, but can allow you to complete a program and avoid conviction altogether.
Notably, these outcomes all require the expertise of a skilled defense lawyer with experience working with the prosecutor. At Gelman Law, LLC, we work with the prosecutor in order to convince them that it is in the public interest to consent to one of these options. If we convince the prosecutor to consent based on the specific facts of your case, we will then advocate on your behalf to convince the judge. To learn more about how we can help, call our office today.
Schedule a Free Case Review with Our Trusted Criminal Defense Lawyers to Discuss Defense Options in Your South Jersey Unlawful Possession of a Handgun Case
When facing serious jail time for unlawful possession of a handgun, not just any lawyer will work. You need a lawyer with both the necessary criminal defense experience and a firm dedication to your case. At Gelman Law, LLC, our top gun charge defense lawyers will go to work on your case immediately. Call us today or fill out this online contact form to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Unlawful Possession of a Handgun Charges in New Jersey
Yes. While there are exceptions for guns that are not within your reach while traveling through the state, New Jersey does not recognize permits issued by other states. Within New Jersey, if you are carrying a gun, it is almost always a second-degree crime even if it would be perfectly legal in your home state.
Very rare. Unlawful possession of a handgun is a second-degree crime. Judges and prosecutors rarely consent to PTI for second-degree crimes. However, it is possible. We will carefully evaluate all of the facts of your case to make the most compelling argument possible if you otherwise qualify for the program.