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Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Possession of Weapon During The Commission of a CDS Offense

Elizabeth NJ Weapon Defense Lawyers

While possession of an illegal weapon is a crime under any circumstance, an entirely separate and additional criminal charge arises when this occurs during the course of commission certain controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”) offenses. This charge is set forth under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4.1 and is triggered when a person possesses a weapon while committing a drug crime or bias offense.  If you were arrested and charged with this violation, your case will definitely be sent to the county court in Elizabeth since it possesses jurisdiction to decide felony cases involving a handgun, rifle, shotgun, knife or other weapon. Possession of a handgun or other weapon during commission of a cds offense is a serious criminal charge that requires an experienced attorney, preferably one well acquainted with the county court system in Elizabeth, like those at our firm. Here at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our staff includes several former prosecutors and other savvy defense attorneys who possess over 100 years of combined experience defending firearm and other weapon cases. To speak to a lawyer immediately, contact our Union NJ Office. We can be reached 24/7 for free consultation at 908-272-1700.

What You Need To Know If You Have Been Charged With Possession of a Weapon During The Commission of a CDS Offense

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4.1 makes it a second degree crime to possess a firearm during the course of a CDS crime. An individual may be found guilty of this offense whether the possession of the drugs and weapon is actual or constructive. In addition, the requirement that the weapon be possessed “during the course of committing” is satisfied if it occurs during an attempt, commission or flight. A long list of cds offenses can trigger this violation including, but not limited to, being a leader of a narcotics trafficking network, operating a cds production facility and distribution of drugs in a school zone.

It is also a second degree crime to possess a weapon, other than a firearm, while committing a cds/drug offense if possession is under circumstances not manifestly appropriate. In determining whether this requirement has been met, the court is to consider all of the circumstances surrounding the possession (e.g. size, concealment, time, place, actions of the accused with the “weapon”, etc.) to ascertain whether the conduct is manifestly inappropriate. When possession is not manifestly inappropriate but the other requirements of 2C:39-4.1 are met, a conviction is a third degree crime.

Penalties & Sentencing Issues That Apply To Possession Of A Weapon While Committing a CDS Offense

The first thing you want to know in terms of penalties is that a conviction under 2C:39-4.1 does not merge with the underlying drug offense and that any jail time imposed must run consecutive. As previously stated, it is a second degree crime punishable with 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine when this violation involves a firearm. Possession of a weapon like a knife, bat, or anything else that is capable of being used to inflict bodily injury, is also a second degree crime if the purpose is to use it unlawfully against person or property during the commission of the CDS offense. Otherwise, possession of a weapon during a qualifying drug charge, is a third degree crime. An individual is subject to a maximum fine of $15,000 and five (5) years in jail for a third degree offense under 2C:39-4.1.

Union NJ Drug & Weapon Attorneys

Since this offense is either a second degree or third degree crime, the Union County Superior Court is the venue that has jurisdiction over all 2C:39-4.1 charges. This court is located in the county seat, Elizabeth NJ. Accordingly, while  you may be arraigned in the municipal court in Union Township, Plainfield, Linden, Roselle or another town, all proceedings to deal with the merits of the charge are at the Elizabeth Courthouse. Our attorneys can help you navigate this court and reach the best outcome of your CDS/Weapon case. Call The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at 908-272-1700 to speak to attorney in a free consultation or to schedule an appointment in our Union NJ Law Office.