Firearms and weapons charges in Salem County, New Jersey are taken very seriously. They carry the potential for high fines, long prison sentences, and the loss of certain constitutional rights, such as the right to vote and to bear arms. Firearms and weapons laws can be complicated, and many violations may be accidental. While this is not always a defense, an experienced attorney can fight to prevent you from facing harsh penalties as the result of an accident. In every case, you deserve a strong legal defense to protect yourself from the worst possible scenario.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a firearms or weapons offense in Salem County, New Jersey, experienced defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help.
Salem County Weapons and Firearms Defense Attorney
With nearly two decades of experience working in various roles in the criminal justice system, Joseph Lento is a qualified Salem County criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how a New Jersey criminal case operates from start to finish, and beyond.
If you have been charged with a weapons or firearms offense in Salem County, New Jersey and need a comprehensive, customized defense, contact the attorneys at Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and freedom. Call (888) 535-3686 today to schedule your consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to clear your name.
Salem County Court Process
If arrested in Salem County for a crime, your case will be scheduled for a preliminary hearing at the applicable Municipal Court. There are 14 Municipal Courts in all of Salem County. If the case proceeds past the preliminary hearing, the case will be scheduled for a formal arraignment at the Court of Common Pleas located at
92 Market Street
Salem, NJ 08079
The criminal process will continue from that point forward often either resulting in the case proceeding to trial or being resolved through non-trial disposition through dismissal or plea.
Firearms and Weapons Crimes in Salem County, New Jersey
Weapons and firearms crimes come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging from relatively mild to very severe, the facts of your individual case will determine not only the potential penalties you face, but how best to proceed in defending your case. Below, you will see some of the common issues that arise with firearms and weapons offenses.
Possessing a Weapon for Criminal Purposes (2C:39-4)
Any individual discovered to possess a firearm, explosives, or destructive devices for illegal conduct will be charged with an offense of the second-degree. Any person who possesses a “community gun”, a gun used by multiple individuals to commit criminal acts will face offenses of the second-degree. This will carry a minimum of a three-year prison sentence. A person who possesses “imitation” firearms that are used to engage in criminal activity will face a fourth-degree offense.
Requirements for a Handgun Permit in New Jersey (Admin Code 13:54-2.3)
New Jersey and federal law set forth certain requirements that must be met in order to receive a handgun permit within the state. The applicant must have “good character” and be free from certain legal disabilities (as the result of a previous conviction). The individual must also be familiar with the safe usage of firearms.
Documentation that supports this knowledge may be in the form of:
- an approved training program,
- an evaluation by a certified instructor, or
- by passing a test at a police academy or recognized entity.
The application for a handgun permit also requires signatures from three other individuals who have known the applicant for at least three years. The application must be submitted with a document explaining why you need a handgun for protection.
Possession or Transportation of Firearms
New Jersey prohibits the possession or transport of a shotgun or rifle unless you have a valid firearms purchaser identification card (FPIC). In order to legally transport or possess a handgun, a valid New Jersey handgun permit is required. Any individual in possession of a firearm who is simply passing through New Jersey must do so while following federal law, namely 18 U.S. Code § 926A. This law requires that the firearm is unloaded and is not “readily accessible” from the passenger area of the vehicle.
If an refuses to or fails to follow these rules, even when otherwise legally allowed to possess a weapon or firearm, that person can be charged with a criminal offense.
Where Guns are Never Permitted
Weapons all kinds are prohibited on the property of:
- educational locations such as schools and universities
- all casino facilities and includes the casino security staff unless permission is obtained from the State Police.
This prohibition against firearms on these premises is the same regardless of whether the possessor has a valid permit or not. Violators are subject to offenses of the third-degree.
Certain Individuals Not Permitted to Own Firearms and Weapons
The legal definition of a weapon is any object that can be easily used to inflict death or bodily harm . Examples include switchblade knives, firearms, bludgeons, explosives, tear gas, and much more. State law forbids certain people to possess weapons, including, but not limited to:
- Individuals found guilty of jeopardizing the welfare of a minor
- Individuals convicted of assault, arson, extortion, kidnapping, murder, robbery and other comparable infractions
- Certain people with psychological conditions who are institutionalized, unless possession of a firearm is permitted by a medical doctor
- Any person who had a firearm confiscated under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991
Those who possess a weapon in a way that violates the law can face very serious state and federal charges.
Firearms and Weapons Defenses
If you face a firearms or weapons charge in New Jersey, certain legal defense may apply to protect your rights:
- Prove that the weapon did not belong to you nor did you possess it
- Prove that you were entitled to lawfully possess the weapon
- Create reasonable doubt at trial
- File a suppression motion to exclude unconstitutionally collected evidence
- Show that you were incorrectly identified by a witness
With the help of a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side, you can defend your case and your rights.
Working with a Salem County Weapons and Firearms Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of a weapons or firearms offense in Salem County, New Jersey, it is highly recommended that you begin defending your rights and your future with as soon as possible. Joseph Lento is passionate about helping charges like yours through the system and making sure justice is served on all sides.
For your consultation on how Joseph Lento and the team at Lento Law Firm can help you, call (888) 535-3686 today.