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



Possession of an Illegal Handgun

Elizabeth NJ Unlicensed Handgun Defense Lawyer

New Jersey has strict laws which make it very risky to possess a handgun without a valid license or carry permit. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office takes these laws extremely serious and aggressively pursues illegal guns whether they are being used for an unlawful purpose or not. Accordingly, if you were arrested with a handgun for which you did not have a permit, you need to obtain representation from an attorney who is exceedingly skilled in the defense of illegal firearm charges. The stakes are extremely high in these cases, particularly when they involve an unlicensed handgun, with mandatory jail almost always coming into play under the Graves Act. You need and deserve the best defense and we believe that our team of criminal attorneys can offer exceptional qualities for success in this regard. Several lawyers among our eight are former prosecutors who have the benefit of learning how the system works from both sides at the Superior Court in Elizabeth and in municipalities like Union, Springfield, Elizabeth, Roselle Park and Linden. Call Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver now at 908-272-100 for an immediate free consultation with a lawyer.

NJ Unlawful Possession of a Handgun Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)

The primary statute that comes into play when someone is arrested for having an illegal handgun is N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b). This New Jersey Law provides that:

b.     Handguns. (1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the second degree. (2) If the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person it is a crime of the third degree.

There are a few things that we know from this language. First, an individual can only be convicted for having an unlawful handgun if their possession is knowing. Second, the weapon must be unlicensed, that is, lacking a permit or license, whether to carry or otherwise. Provided these conditions can be met by the prosecutor and the weapon is not an air or spring powered device, a violation will result in a a second degree crime.

Penalties If You Are Convicted Of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

The standard penalties for a second degree crime include a maximum fine of $150,000 and up to ten (10) years in state prison. When the second degree violation involves 2C:3-5(b), however, the penalties include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, during which an individual is ineligible for parole, if there exists “a substantial likelihood that the defendant is involved in organized criminal activity.” This period of parole ineligibility is an entire separate consequence from the mandatory minimum that will apply in almost all illegal gun cases by virtue of the Graves Act. In addition, if the defendant has a prior conviction for possession of an illegal firearm, including but not limited to a handgun, the charge is upgraded to a first degree crime under 2C:39-5(j).

Plainfield Illegal Handgun Attorneys

Some of the toughest laws contained in our criminal code are those which concern possession of a handgun without a carry permit or license.  This is the main reason why you need to take the selection process of an attorney so seriously. It is not enough that someone has defense experience or that they may handled cases in Elizabeth in the past, you need a lawyer who has a track of success in defending gun charges. That is what the attorneys at Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver can offer you. We are a team of lawyers who have handled hundreds of unlawful possession cases involving handguns arising in Plainfield, Hillside, Cranford, Garwood, Kenilworth and other towns in New Jersey. Call Elizabeth NJ Weapon Offense Defense Lawyers 24/7 for a free consultation at 908-272-1700.

Related Resources That May Be Found On This Site

Certain Person Not To Possess A Firearm

Possession of a BB/Pellet gun