Certain Person In Possession of a Firearm
Second Degree Certain Persons Offense
When an individual falls under the category of a certain person under New Jersey Law, the consequences of possession of a handgun or other firearm are significant. The reason is because N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7 makes it a second degree crime for someone who is a certain person to possess a firearm. A violation of of this law also falls under the Graves Act. If you or a loved one has been charged with a certain person offense because of a firearm, an experienced attorney is definitely something you need to enlist. Our firm, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, is one of the largest criminal defense firms in New Jersey. The attorneys include several former prosecutors and a team with over 100 years of experience defending cases arising in Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway, Plainfield and other municipalities in Union County. For an immediate free consultation with an attorney on our defense team, contact our Union NJ Office at 908-272-1700.
What Must Be Shown To Convict Someone Of A Certain Persons Firearm Offense?
There are four (4) factual elements that must be established by the prosecutor to prove someone guilty of firearm possession under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7. First, it must be established that the accused was previously convicted of a predicate offense rendering him/her a “certain person”. Second, the “weapon” involved must be a handgun or firearm. Third, the accused must be in actual or constructive possession of the item. Fourth, the state must prove that the defendant acted knowingly in possessing the weapon.
- Definition of “Firearm” Defined Under The NJ Certain Persons Law. New Jersey law defines a “firearm” as any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semiautomatic rifle, or any gun that is capable of being used as a weapon. The definition specifically extends to an air gun, spring gun, or pistol or other weapon which ejects a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter with sufficient force to injure a person. If you are a certain person under the law, you cannot therefore possess anything that falls within this definition or you face up to ten (10) years in prison if convicted of this criminal offense.
- Possession. As stated, an individual can be found in possession where the item is either actually possessed by them or where possession is constructive. This occurs where, although not on their person, the firearm is within their control and they possess an intention to exercise control in the future.
- Knowing. The actions of the accused are “knowing” when it is his/her conscious objective to possess the firearm.
Grading Of A Certain Persons Not To Possess A Firearm Charge
While a certain person offense is often limited to a fourth degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, this is not the case when the “weapon” is a firearm. The offense is elevated to a second degree crime in this instance. The only exception to this grading applies where the event qualifying the individual as a certain person involved domestic violence proceedings resulting in seizure of weapons and the prohibition against possessing the items is still in effect. It is a third degree crime to possess a firearm in this instance. Since the grading for this offense always falls within the category of an indictable felony offense, the only place the charge can be resolved is at the county level at the Superior Court in Elizabeth NJ.
Penalties You Will Face Under 2C:39-7 For Possessing a Firearm
Possession of a handgun, rifle, shotgun or other firearm is, as stated, a second degree crime if you are a certain person. A conviction for this offense exposes the defendant to ten (10) years in state prison and a fine of $150,000.00. There is mandatory minimum period of incarceration that also attaches pursuant to the Graves Act. This law requires that the defendant serve a minimum of between one-third and one-half of his sentence or five (5) years, whichever is greater, before he/she can be considered for parole. A third degree certain persons firearm conviction stemming from domestic violence proceedings carries up to five (5) years in jail and a $15,000.00 fine.
Certain Persons Not To Possess A Firearm Defense Lawyers, Elizabeth NJ
All certain person cases are handled at the Union County Superior Court, 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth NJ. The reason is because this is the only court in the county with jurisdiction to hear felony cases like a second degree charge for possessing a firearm like a handgun when you are a certain person. The attorneys at our firm have decades of experience defending clients at the Elizabeth courthouse, including weapon offenses. All us today to discuss your arrest in Roselle Park, Union, Springfield, Clark, Cranford or another municipality in Union County. Call us at 908-272-1700 for an immediate free consultation.