Presumption of Firearm Possession
There are two things assumed by law enforcement concerning the possession of a firearm regardless of what may actually be true in some circumstances. Until an offender establishes otherwise, it is presumed that a firearm is unlicensed, and a presumption of weapons possession exists in motor vehicles. For example, when a firearm or other weapon is openly present in a car carrying more than one person, it is presumed to be in the possession of each passenger. Knowing this legal presumption may cause you to consider your surroundings a little more closely before getting into someone else’s vehicle. Being in the mere presence of a weapon, knowingly or not, may result in a criminal conviction of the second or third degree, and a potential sentence of up to ten years in prison.
Penalties Increased for Firearm Possession in Recent Years
If you have been charged with the unlawful possession or use of a firearm in New Jersey, you may think the penalties are rather severe. The possession of a firearm without a proper permit or license is an indictable criminal offense (crime) in New Jersey, despite any intention of the possessor to use the firearm in a wrongful manner. New Jersey has a strong commitment to firearms safety which is unrivaled anywhere in the nation. It has lead the country in requiring safety warnings and a trigger lock or other locked container with the purchase of every handgun. To enforce these strict regulations, New Jersey imposes harsh penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison term of three years on anyone who sells, transfers or gives a firearm to a minor. In 2008, the sentencing statute was amended to enhance the sentencing for the unlawful possession of a handgun from a third degree offense, carrying a maximum 3 to 5 years in prison, to a second degree offense, carrying a maximum 5 to 10 years in prison.
“KeepSafe” Program Aims to Protect New Jersey’s Families and Children
To encourage all firearms owners to practice safe storage, the State of New Jersey waives all sales taxes on trigger locks, firearms lock-boxes and vaults. More recently, a statute establishing the “KeepSafe” program was developed to encourage firearms safety, offering a $5.00 rebate to all retail purchasers who buy a trigger locking device along with their firearm.
Call Villani & DeLuca Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been charged with firearm possession or another firearms offense in the state of New Jersey, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to help protect and defend your rights. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. will review all the facts of your case to determine if you have a viable defense or if you are eligible for pre-trial intervention. Call 732-965-3350 today for a free initial consultation. We represent clients throughout Ocean and Monmouth County New Jersey.