Juvenile Weapon Possession Charge

Every kid makes mistakes and the lawyers at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall believe that every kid deserves another chance. If your son or daughter has been charged with possession of a weapon and was under the age of 18 at the time of the charged offense, our criminal defense lawyers can help you. Our criminal defense law firm is comprised of experienced criminal attorneys, including a former New Jersey prosecutor, who are prepared to stand by your family. Under New Jersey law, juveniles must be represented by an attorney and our lawyers will defend your child throughout all the steps of a weapon possession charge including the retention hearing, delinquency adjudication and resulting manner of disposition. We have law offices throughout the state which handle juvenile charges in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Ocean County, Essex County, Somerset County, and Hudson County.

Prohibited Weapons and Devices by Juveniles

The state of New Jersey prohibits certain devices and weapons from being owned or possessed by its residents under 2C:39-3. Such items bring different penalties depending on the device or weapon and are as follows:

Third Degree

· Destructive devices

· Saw-off shotguns

Fourth Degree

· Silencers

· Defaced firearms

· Knives (switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, ballistic knife)

· Clubs (billy, blackjack, sandclub, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood)

· Metal knuckles

· Sling shot

· Armor piercing or dum-dum ammo

· Stun guns

· Large capacity ammunition magazines

Disorderly Persons Offense

· Handcuffs

Juvenile Unlawful Possession of Weapons Offense in New Jersey

In New Jersey, certain weapons cannot be lawfully possessed without a special permit. These weapons and their subsequent offenses are defined in § 2C:39-5. Individuals possessing unlicensed guns receive the harshest penalties in NJ. Machine guns, assault firearms and handguns are usually second degree crimes. If an offender is convicted of unlawfully possessing a machine gun, assault firearm, or handgun then they will not be eligible for an intensive supervision program. Moreover, if the court if believes there is a substantial likelihood that the defendant of a gang member then the court will impose a mandatory 5 year term of imprisonment with the eligibility of parole. A high-powered air handgun that shoots pellets is a third degree charge. If an individual does not have a firearms permit and has rifles and shotguns in his/her possession they are guilty of a third degree crimes. However, even if an individual has lawfully obtained a firearms permit, storing or transporting a shotgun or rifle the while it is loaded is a third degree offense. All other kinds of weapons, such as knives, are crimes of the fourth degree.

Firearms or Other Weapons inside Educational Institutions

Any time a person brings a weapon into an educational institution in the NJ it is a serious criminal offense which can be punishable by imprisonment. Educational institutions include any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution. A person who brings a firearm on the school premises is guilty of a crime of the third degree, regardless of whether they have a valid permit to carry or posses the firearm. Possession of all other weapons, including knives, stun guns or clubs, on school premises is usually a fourth degree offense. Furthermore, possession of an imitation firearm on any school grounds or while on a school bus is a disorderly persons offense.

NJ Juvenile Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes

There are heightened penalties for the possession of weapons for an unlawful purpose. The penalties for the various kinds of weapons are contained in § 2C:39-4. The statute provides that firearms which are possessed for unlawful purposes are second degree crimes. However, if the firearm is “community gun”, which is a gun that is transferred between two or more people and used to commit crimes, then the crime of second degree brings mandatory imprisonment and minimum term of ½ the sentence imposed or 3 years, whichever is greater. Explosives and other destructive devices are also second degree crimes if they are possessed with unlawful intentions. Other weapons, such a knives, which are in an individual’s possession with the purpose of being used unlawfully bring a third degree charge. Imitation firearms can even bring a fourth degree charge if they appear to be used to for unlawful purposes.

Possession of Firearms and Weapons by Minors

New Jersey’s possession of firearms by minors is contained in § 2C:58-6.1 and states no person under the age of 18 years can acquire, possess, carry, fire, or use a firearm. Any juvenile charged with unlawful possession of firearm or other prohibited weapon faces a fourth degree offense. Furthermore, under § 2A:4A-34(c)(2) a juvenile charged with delinquency for weapon possession must face a retention hearing where the court may decide to hold the juvenile in detention pending the outcome of the case if the court believes that the physical safety of persons or the community would be seriously threatened and the juvenile is charged with weapon possession. If the juvenile possessed the weapon or firearm for unlawful purposes or in a school then according to NJ law the offense would be upgraded. Under the law, it is a second degree offense for a firearm and a third degree offense for other weapons such as knives. If the juvenile brought the firearm into a school then they would usually face a third degree charge. Since weapon possession is a serious charge that can bring either a second, third, or fourth degree charge, a juvenile could face a lengthy incarceration in a juvenile detention center or boot camp, depending on the circumstances. Aside from incarceration, the court also has the authority to order non-custodial dispositions such as community service, probation, or another form of monitored supervision.

Weapon possession by a juvenile is a severe offense with harsh penalties, including the possibility of incarceration and mandatory retention during delinquency and disposition hearings. This is why it is imperative to retain experienced lawyers to represent your child and make sure that they do not face any time of incarceration. Our lawyers are battle tested and have been defending our minor clients and their families against juvenile delinquency charges for years. If your child has gotten in trouble for weapon possession you will need criminal defense lawyer to them. Do not hesitate while your child’s future may be in jeopardy and contact the Law Offices of John F. Marshall today. Our firm has offices located throughout NJ including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Somerset County, Ocean County, Essex County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Hudson County, and Morris County. Your child deserves a second opportunity and our lawyers can help.