Serving the Elizabeth NJ Superior Court & All Municipal Courts in Union County

Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

Over 100 Year of Combined Experience

Former County & Municipal Prosecutors



Prohibited Weapons & Devices

Union County Illegal Weapon Defense Lawyers

There are some weapons that the law prohibits possession of under all circumstances. These devices are commonly referred to as “prohibited weapons” and they are outlined at N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3 of the Criminal Code. The term includes sawed off shotguns, defaced firearms, large capacity ammunition, magazines and clips, hollow tipped and Teflon coated bullets, and stun guns.  If you have been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, you need to know that a conviction will result in a felony conviction in the form of either a third degree crime or fourth degree crime. Both of these grades of offense carry exposure to a state prison sentence that can reach five (5) years. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending all forms of prohibited and illegal weapon charges. The lawyers on the criminal defense team of Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver have over a century in practice combined with several members who are former  prosecutors. A skilled attorney on our staff is prepared to discuss your Elizabeth, Union, Linden, Plainfield or Cranford illegal weapon charge now at 908-272-1700 and initial consultations is free. Contact our Union NJ Office to speak to a lawyer with the tools to help you escape a conviction.

Prohibited Weapons Under New Jersey Law

As previously stated, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3 is the law that applies to possession of a prohibited weapon. The statute makes it illegal to possess the following weapons under almost all circumstances:

a.      Destructive devices that are intended to be used or cause an explosion or uncontrolled combustion including a bomb, grenade or Molotov cocktail.

b.      Sawed-off shotgun

c.     Silencer

d.      Defaced firearms such as those where the maker, manufacturer, model, serial number or someone other characteristic used to identify the weapon is removed, covered, altered or destroyed.

e.      Certain Knifes & Weapons including a gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy, blackjack, brass knuckles, sandclub, slingshot, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, ballistic knife, that are possessed without any explainable lawful purpose.

f.      Dum-dum or body armor penetrating bullets including bullets that are hollow nose, whose core or jacket is tungsten carbide or hard bronze, or are comprised of other material which is harder than a rating of 72 or greater on the Rockwell B. Hardness Scale.

h.     Stun guns.

What Must Be Shown To Convict Someone Of  Possession Of A Prohibited Weapon?

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3, there are certain things the Union County Prosecutor’s Office must prove before the court can convict you of this offense. First, the particular instrument must be one of the prohibited weapons set forth under the statute. Second, the defendant must have had actual or constructive possession of that weapon. Third, the defendant must have known that he possessed the item, as well as its nature or character.

Grading of Prohibited Weapons Charges

As previously stated, an illegal weapon offense will fall within either a third degree crime or fourth degree crime. The type of weapon will determine the grade of the crime. It is a third degree crime to possess a sawed off shotgun or destructive device. It is a fourth degree crime to possess a silencer, defaced firearm, high capacity ammunition, stun gun, hollow bullets, telflon bullets, switchblade, bill club or brass knuckles. Most other illegal weapons, including possession of a stun gun, fall within the fourth degree category.

Penalties for Possessing a Prohibited Weapon

The penalties a defendant will face are dependent on the degree of the crime. A conviction for possession of a prohibited weapon in the third degree carries up to five (5) years of imprisonment and a $15,000 fine. A fourth degree charge for possessing a prohibited weapon triggers a prison term that can reach eighteen (18) months and a fine of up to $10,000.  Additionally, the Graves Act can apply to certain firearm violations that potentially fall or overlap with 2C:39-3. When this act applies, there is a mandatory minimum/parole ineligibility period that attaches to a prison sentence.

Elizabeth NJ Weapon Attorney

Since all weapons offenses falling within N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3 are indictable felony crimes, the court with jurisdiction to decide a charge of this nature is the Union County Superior Court which is located in Elizabeth. There is no authority on the part of a municipal court such as the one in Hillside, Kenilworth, Springfield, Westfield or Roselle Park to delve into anything beyond an initial arraignment when it comes to a prohibited weapons offense. The attorneys at Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver are skilled and knowledgeable in the defense of all firearm and weapons violations, as well as the courts and personnel in Elizabeth. With over 100 years of collective experience, an attorney on our staff is capable of providing the representation that you need. Call us any time at 908-272-1700 for immediate assistance from a lawyer.