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First-Time Gun Charges in New Jersey

Being charged with a gun crime for the first time can have severe implications on your life. In New Jersey, even for a first-time offense, charges such as illegal possession of a firearm can have significant penalties upon conviction. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of the legal landscape in order to protect your rights and secure your future. Understanding the different types of charges, potential penalties, available defenses, and the importance of seeking professional legal assistance is crucial. New Jersey has strict gun laws, and being well-informed and supported by a skilled 1st time gun charge lawyer can greatly impact the outcome of your case.

If you find yourself charged with a gun crime for the first time in New Jersey, seeking the assistance of an experienced and skilled gun crime lawyer is paramount. At Lustberg Law Offices, our dedicated team of New Jersey criminal defense lawyers understands the intricacies of the legal system and the potential impact on your life. We work tirelessly to build a strong defense, challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and pursue the most favorable outcome for our clients’ cases. Don’t let a first-time gun charge derail your future.

Contact us today at (201) 880-5311 for a confidential consultation and take the first step towards safeguarding your rights and securing your future.  

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New Jersey Gun Laws Overview

New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. To legally own a firearm in the state, residents must first obtain a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) which serves as a license to purchase rifles and shotguns. To obtain an FPIC, applicants must be at least 18 years old, complete a firearms safety course, pass a background check, and be fingerprinted. Additionally, applicants cannot have a history of drug addiction, mental illness, or any domestic violence or serious criminal convictions. 

For handguns, a separate Handgun Purchaser Permit is required for each handgun purchase. This permit has the same requirements as the FPIC but with a more thorough application process. Purchasers must also be at least 21 years old before they can buy a handgun.

Owning a firearm in New Jersey requires a permit for purchasing, and in some cases, possessing firearms. As mentioned earlier, the FPIC and Handgun Purchaser Permit are required for individuals to purchase firearms. However, certain individuals, such as law enforcement officers and military personnel, may be exempt from these requirements in specific situations.

New Jersey has a “may-issue” policy for concealed carry permits, which means that local authorities have discretion in determining whether or not an applicant demonstrates a “justifiable need” to carry a concealed weapon. The concealed carry permit application process includes the submission of a detailed application, background checks, fingerprinting, and proof of firearms training. This stringent application process acts as a significant barrier for most residents seeking a concealed carry permit.

Open carry is only allowed for long guns in New Jersey in certain scenarios provided that the individual has a valid FPIC, and concealed carry permits are issued to only a select few who can demonstrate a justifiable need. It is important to remember that having a permit to carry a handgun does not allow the individual to open carry a firearm.

When traveling with firearms in the state, owners must ensure that their firearms are unloaded and securely encased. The firearm and ammunition should be stored separately and not easily accessible to passengers.

Firearms may be transported between an owner’s residence, place of business, or any location where they have permission to possess a firearm such as a shooting range or gun store. Additionally, firearms can be transported when moving between residences, but it’s crucial to consult with local authorities or a knowledgeable attorney to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

Types of First-Time Gun Charges in New Jersey

First-time gun charges in New Jersey encompass numerous offenses, which include but are not limited to:

The penalties for first-time gun charges in New Jersey can be severe, depending on the specific offense and circumstances surrounding the case.

Potential penalties include:

  • Fines and fees: Monetary fines can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Jail or prison time: First-time offenders may face incarceration in a county jail or state prison. Under the Graves Act, the mandatory minimum sentencing, even for first-time offenses, can result in years in prison. For example, if convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, a defendant can be sentenced to three to five years in prison at the minimum.
  • Probation: Some offenders may be placed on probation, which requires them to comply with specific conditions, such as regular meetings with a probation officer, random drug testing, and curfew restrictions.
  • Community service: In some cases, first-time offenders may be required to perform community service as part of their sentence.
  • Loss of gun rights: A conviction for a firearm-related offense often results in the loss of an individual’s right to own, possess, or purchase firearms.

It’s essential for individuals facing first-time gun charges in New Jersey to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help navigate the state’s stringent gun laws and defend against potentially severe penalties.

If you find yourself facing a gun charge as a first-time offender in New Jersey, it’s crucial to understand the potential legal consequences under the Graves Act. This legislation mandates severe penalties for offenses involving illegal firearms, even for those without prior criminal records.

Typically, a first-time offender charged under the Graves Act can expect a sentence of 5 years in state prison. More specifically, you must serve at least 42 months of this sentence before you are eligible for parole. This duration reflects the state’s strict stance on illegal firearm possession and its commitment to reducing gun-related crimes.

However, there is a possibility of lessening the severity of this sentence through what is known as a Graves Act waiver. This waiver can significantly alter the outcome, either by reducing the prison time or, in certain circumstances, eliminating it altogether. Obtaining a waiver depends heavily on the specific details of your case, including the nature of the offense and your personal and legal background.

For first-time offenders, the importance of legal representation cannot be overstated. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can guide you through the complexities of the legal system and help in seeking a Graves Act waiver, potentially reducing the severe penalties imposed by the law.

Contact Lustberg Law Offices today at (201) 880-5311 to schedule a consultation.

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We have years of experience in courts through NJ and NY and a proven track record of success in criminal cases.

How the Graves Act Affects First-Time Offenders

The Graves Act has a significant impact on first-time gun offenders in New Jersey. Enacted in 1981, the Graves Act is a strict gun control law aimed at deterring and punishing individuals who commit crimes involving firearms. This law imposes mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun-related offenses, including those committed by first-time offenders.

Under the Graves Act, first-time offenders who are convicted of possessing a firearm illegally or using a firearm during the commission of a crime face mandatory minimum prison sentences. The length of these sentences varies depending on the specific offense committed and the circumstances surrounding the case.

For example, unlawful possession of a firearm typically carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three to five years of imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Possessing a firearm for an unlawful purpose can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, with a maximum potential sentence of up to ten years. These mandatory minimums mean that judges have limited discretion in sentencing, and the offender must serve a specified period of time before becoming eligible for parole.

The Graves Act also includes provisions that restrict plea bargaining for gun offenses. Prosecutors are generally prohibited from downgrading or dismissing gun charges without the approval of the court. This strict stance on plea bargaining aims to ensure that offenders face appropriate penalties for their involvement with firearms. 

First-time gun offenders in New Jersey must understand the severe consequences they may face under the Graves Act. Given the mandatory minimum sentences, it becomes even more imperative to seek experienced legal representation. An experienced New Jersey gun crime lawyer can evaluate the specifics of the case, explore potential defenses, and work to mitigate the potential penalties.

Criminal Justice Process for First-Offense Gun Charges

First-offense gun charges can carry severe penalties, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Understanding the criminal justice process for first-time gun charges can help arm you with the knowledge necessary to navigate the legal system. 

Criminal Justice Process for First-Offense Gun ChargesDetails
Arrest and booking processIndividual is arrested, taken to police precinct, personal information recorded, fingerprinted, and background check conducted.
Initial appearance and bailJudge informs charges, determines custody, sets bail conditions if eligible.
Arraignment and pleasDefendant presented charges, pleads guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Pretrial hearings and negotiationsProsecution and defense exchange information, evidence, and engage in plea negotiations.
TrialProsecution and defense present arguments, evidence, and witnesses.
SentencingPunishment determined based on case circumstances and jurisdiction. Possible sentences include probation, fines, community service, programs, or imprisonment. Firearms possession may be restricted.

The process begins with the arrest of the individual in possession of a firearm. The arrest typically occurs when a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a crime involving a gun has been committed. Possible charges may include illegal possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, or use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

After the arrest, the individual will be transported to the police precinct to undergo the booking process. During booking, the suspect’s personal information, such as name, address, and date of birth, will be recorded. The individual will also be fingerprinted and photographed. A criminal background check is usually conducted at this stage to determine if the individual has any prior criminal convictions.

The initial appearance, also known as the first court appearance, usually takes place within 48 hours of the arrest. During the initial appearance, a judge or magistrate will inform the individual of the charges brought against them and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to hold them in custody. At this stage, the judge will also decide if the individual is eligible for bail and, if so, set bail conditions and amounts.

Bail is a monetary guarantee that the individual will return to court for any future proceedings. In cases involving gun charges, bail amounts can vary greatly, depending on factors such as the severity of the charges, criminal history, and the defendant’s ties to the community.

After the initial appearance, the individual will be scheduled for an arraignment. During the arraignment, the defendant will be formally presented with the charges against them and asked to enter a plea. The defendant can choose to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

A guilty plea means the individual admits to the charges, and the case proceeds directly to sentencing. A not guilty plea indicates the defendant denies the charges, and the case will proceed to the pretrial stage. A no-contest plea means the individual does not admit guilt but does not contest the charges, often resulting in a conviction and sentencing.

If the defendant pleads not guilty during the arraignment, the case will proceed to the pretrial stage. During pretrial hearings, the prosecution and defense will exchange information, evidence, and witness lists. Additionally, the defense attorney may file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss certain charges.

During this stage, the prosecution and defense may also engage in plea negotiations. A plea agreement typically involves the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge or reduced sentence in exchange for the dismissal of other charges.

If no plea agreement is reached and the case proceeds to trial, both the prosecution and defense will present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses before a judge or jury. The prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury or judge finds the defendant not guilty, they are acquitted of all charges and released from custody. The case will proceed to the sentencing phase if the defendant is found guilty.

The final step in the criminal justice process for first-time gun charges is sentencing. Sentencing for gun charges varies greatly, depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction in which the case is handled. Factors that may influence the severity of the sentence include the defendant’s criminal history, the type of firearm used, and whether the gun was used in the commission of a crime.

Sentences for first-time gun charges may include probation, fines, community service, mandatory firearms training or education programs, or imprisonment. In some cases, the defendant may also be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms in the future.

Navigating the criminal justice process for first-time gun charges can be a complex and intimidating experience. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to ensure that your rights are protected and to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

At Lustberg Law Offices, top-rated New Jersey gun crime lawyer Adam M. Lustberg can help ensure that your constitutional rights are upheld, such as the right to a fair trial and protection against unlawful searches and seizures. Our team works diligently to provide our clients with sound legal advice and aggressive but compassionate representation. We can help guide you through every step of the process and leverage our knowledge of the law and experience to achieve the best possible resolution for your case.

Contact us today at (201) 880-5311 to schedule a free consultation.

Defenses for First-Offense Gun Charges in New Jersey

Gun laws in New Jersey are among the strictest in the United States. A first-time gun possession charge can lead to severe consequences, making it crucial to understand the possible defenses that might be available for those facing these charges.

One of the most commonly used defenses to fight first-time gun charges is claiming that the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. When law enforcement officials conduct a search or seizure without a warrant or probable cause, the defendant can move to suppress the evidence obtained in this manner. If the court agrees that the search and seizure were illegal, the evidence will be suppressed, which could lead to the dismissal of the gun charges.

Another possible defense for first-time gun charges is arguing that the defendant was unaware of the presence of the firearm or had no intent to possess it. This defense might be effective in situations where the defendant did not own the vehicle in which the firearm was found, or the firearm was hidden in a location the defendant was not aware of. It can also apply if the defendant believed they were carrying a legal weapon, such as a starter pistol or a toy gun.

A first-time gun charge in New Jersey could also be contested on the grounds of mistaken identity. This defense argues that the defendant has been falsely accused of the crime because they look similar to the actual perpetrator, or after a flawed identification process, such as relying on witness testimony or weak physical evidence. To successfully use this defense, the defendant must provide evidence that proves their innocence, such as a credible alibi or witnesses that attest to their whereabouts during the time the crime took place.

Besides the defenses mentioned above, several affirmative defenses could be argued in a first-time gun offense case, including self-defense, coercion, or entrapment. These defenses require presenting evidence that proves the defendant’s actions were justified or that they were forced or tricked into committing the crime.

Impact on Future Rights and Opportunities

A conviction for a first-time gun charge can have severe and long-lasting consequences on an individual’s rights and future opportunities.

A criminal conviction can negatively impact employment opportunities, especially for a gun offense. Potential employers might be hesitant to hire someone with a criminal record, which can lead to difficulty finding a stable job or advancing in one’s career.

A conviction can lead to the loss of voting rights, depending on the severity of the charges. Felony convictions often result in the temporary or permanent revocation of the right to vote, disenfranchising individuals and potentially affecting their ability to participate in their community’s decision-making process.

Having a criminal record can also impact an individual’s ability to secure safe and affordable housing options. Landlords and property managers might be hesitant to rent to someone with a criminal record, particularly for gun crimes, which can lead to homelessness or living in substandard housing conditions.

Doctors, lawyers, and teachers can lose their licenses or be denied certification to practice in their respective fields due to a gun crime conviction. This can have catastrophic consequences on their careers and livelihoods.

A conviction for a gun offense can also impact an individual’s ability to travel internationally. Many countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, have strict policies for admitting individuals with criminal records, which can result in denied entry or travel restrictions. This can limit opportunities for personal growth, education, and professional advancement.

Facing and defending against first-time gun charges in New Jersey should not be taken lightly due to the potential long-term impacts on an individual’s rights and opportunities. It’s essential to seek proper legal representation to assist in understanding the available defenses and mitigating the negative outcomes associated with such charges.

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Client Reviews
"If I could give Lustberg law offices more than 5 stars I would. Adam M. Lustberg is by far the best criminal defense attorney I have ever met. He is the most knowledgeable, professional, and highly respected in the area. Mr. Lustberg will go above and beyond to make sure he gets you the best possible outcome for your situation. Adam M. Lustberg fought long and hard for my mother and instead of her serving what could’ve been a 5-10 year sentence in jail, she got the minimum sentence of 364 days which is now downgraded to 6 months. Thank you Lustberg law offices for all your hard work! Everyone makes mistakes and Lustberg law offices are on your side."
"I couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer, and quite frankly I was actually very surprised he was able to handle my case in the way it was done. I highly recommend Adam to anyone who needs a gentleman in his profession."
"Luckily ive only had to use mr.lustbergs services once but i will forever say he is the best lawyer in the world! He’s always available to answer any questions i have and is always happy to help even months after having all my charges dismissed. I’d give more then 5 stars if i could."
"I must say Out of all my experiences with Lawyers, doing business with Adam was the best. After first meeting Adam and informing him of my Situation, he reassured me that if there was a way out of it he would find a way. I was hesitant and decided to go to Trial. Adam handled my Trial as a true professional and Made sure every aspect was covered, and decided to go about my trial with the best angle Neccessary. I was acquitted on my Charge and 7 other charges were dismissed.. Best experience and feeling ever..THAnks For my Freedom ADAM!!!"
"I highly recommended Adam M. Lustberg! Adam is extremely knowledgeable and professional. He clearly knows everything there is to know about criminal law. He is a great communicator, and he gave my case his full attention. If you are searching for a criminal defense attorney, you can stop your search right here. Adam is the very best."
"I have a long history with the Lustberg Law Firm. Adam is highly experienced, a great communicator who will not keep an eye on the time when you are talking to him. He actually listens to the client and goes out of his way to understand your particular goal. Adam always replied to my emails, texts and phone calls. A professional in every respect. I recommend the Lustberg Law firm without any reservations."
Client Reviews
"If I could give Lustberg law offices more than 5 stars I would. Adam M. Lustberg is by far the best criminal defense attorney I have ever met. He is the most knowledgeable, professional, and highly respected in the area. Mr. Lustberg will go above and beyond to make sure he gets you the best possible outcome for your situation. Adam M. Lustberg fought long and hard for my mother and instead of her serving what could’ve been a 5-10 year sentence in jail, she got the minimum sentence of 364 days which is now downgraded to 6 months. Thank you Lustberg law offices for all your hard work! Everyone makes mistakes and Lustberg law offices are on your side."
"I couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer, and quite frankly I was actually very surprised he was able to handle my case in the way it was done. I highly recommend Adam to anyone who needs a gentleman in his profession."
"Luckily ive only had to use mr.lustbergs services once but i will forever say he is the best lawyer in the world! He’s always available to answer any questions i have and is always happy to help even months after having all my charges dismissed. I’d give more then 5 stars if i could."
"I must say Out of all my experiences with Lawyers, doing business with Adam was the best. After first meeting Adam and informing him of my Situation, he reassured me that if there was a way out of it he would find a way. I was hesitant and decided to go to Trial. Adam handled my Trial as a true professional and Made sure every aspect was covered, and decided to go about my trial with the best angle Neccessary. I was acquitted on my Charge and 7 other charges were dismissed.. Best experience and feeling ever..THAnks For my Freedom ADAM!!!"
"I highly recommended Adam M. Lustberg! Adam is extremely knowledgeable and professional. He clearly knows everything there is to know about criminal law. He is a great communicator, and he gave my case his full attention. If you are searching for a criminal defense attorney, you can stop your search right here. Adam is the very best."
"I have a long history with the Lustberg Law Firm. Adam is highly experienced, a great communicator who will not keep an eye on the time when you are talking to him. He actually listens to the client and goes out of his way to understand your particular goal. Adam always replied to my emails, texts and phone calls. A professional in every respect. I recommend the Lustberg Law firm without any reservations."

Working with a Skilled New Jersey Gun Crime Attorney from Lustberg Law Offices

Legal assistance is a vital component of navigating the justice system. Access to legal services can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive fair treatment under the law. When facing a first-offense gun charge in New Jersey, the importance of hiring a skilled gun crime lawyer cannot be overstated. The complexities of the legal system and the severity of the consequences necessitate experienced guidance.

New Jersey’s gun laws are intricate and constantly evolving. A knowledgeable gun crime lawyer is well-versed in the statutes, regulations, and case precedents relevant to your case. They can navigate the complex legal system on your behalf, ensuring that all necessary procedures are followed and deadlines are met.

A gun crime lawyer’s primary objective is to protect your rights and interests throughout the legal process. They will diligently investigate the facts of your case, analyze the evidence, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. With their expertise, they can identify potential legal defenses, challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and advocate for the most favorable outcome possible.

Adam M. Lustberg, a highly regarded New Jersey gun crime lawyer at Lustberg Law Offices, is dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of his clients. With a focus on providing aggressive yet compassionate representation, our team is committed to ensuring a fair trial and safeguarding against unlawful searches and seizures. We understand the complexities of gun crime cases and utilize our extensive knowledge and experience to guide you through the entire legal process.

When you choose Lustberg Law Offices, you can trust that we will provide you with sound legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Our goal is to achieve the best possible resolution for your case, and we will work tirelessly to achieve that outcome. We prioritize open communication, maintaining your confidentiality, and treating you with respect and empathy throughout the process.

Take the first step towards protecting your rights and securing a strong defense. Contact Lustberg Law Offices today at (201) 880-5311 to schedule a free consultation with Adam M. Lustberg.

We are here to listen to your concerns, evaluate your case, and provide the skilled legal representation you need during this challenging time.

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