Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun N.J.S. 2C:39-5a, What are the penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun
“Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun in New Jersey is part of a very serious legal statute. Those convicted of these charges are facing significant jail time, with long mandatory minimum sentences.”
If you’ve been arrested for a gun charge in New Jersey, you are unfortunately facing some of the most serious gun laws in the country. For even the possession of an Airsoft gun you are facing 5-10 years in prison.
Luckily, the laws don’t get any more serious for a real gun… oddly enough even if that gun happens to be a fully automatic. Sometimes the law doesn’t really make sense, and in these cases it’s even more important to protect yourself when you end up on the wrong side of the legal system. Any firearms offense in New Jersey carries a minimum of 5 years in state prison with 10 years being the maximum.
“How do they determine if your gun is illegal?”
A machine gun is technically defines as “An automatic gun that fires bullets in rapid succession for as long as the trigger is pressed.” If you are arrested with a gun that appears to be a machine gun, you will probably be charged under this statute (as well as others). The police aren’t going to fire the gun for a few test rounds to see if it’s “automatic” or not, so they will charge you with a number of things and hope that one sticks.
For example, an AK-47 can be made to be either automatic, or semi-automatic. Depending on the nature of the gun’s firing structure, it might be legal or illegal (also depending on the nature of your arrest.) Sometimes this even depends on the number of bullets that a magazine carries. The only clarification that the law itself has to offer is as follows:
a. Machine guns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession a machine gun or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without being licensed to do so is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
The law is frequently left vague, so that it can be interpreted on a case by case basis. The trick to staying out of trouble is to formulate a defense strategy that also works for your particular case.
The Tormey Law firm has a series of advanced defense strategies for gun charges and we have implemented these defenses with great success in New Jersey. Please watch our video series on “How to Beat Gun Charges” and feel free call us to discuss the specific details of your case: (201) 556-1571.
Additional details on sentencing in gun charges:
Usually, on a 5 year offense, an offender will be eligible for parole in about a year to a year and a half. Unfortunately, due to the Graves Act, there is a minimum of three years that must be served without parole on a gun charge. The Graves Act basically establishes the minimum mandatory sentence on NJ gun charges. If arrested and convicted for a gun charge in NJ, you can expect to spend at least three years in state prison.
Now, that’s not always the case. There are ways around these minimum mandatory sentences. However, you are going to have to have your attorney apply for a Graves Act Waiver, and go through a fairly complicated process in order to “de-mandatorize” the sentence. If you are successful in having this waiver granted, you might be able to garner a 3 year mandatory prison sentence with a one year minimum of time served before parole. This is a good result considering that you would be sparing yourself 2 years in state prison, but let’s be honest… no one wants to spend a year behind bars.
Call The Tormey Law Firm for a free consultation with experienced criminal defense attorneys, and current NJ prosecutors.
Our firm is absolutely dedicated to providing the best criminal defense for your legal issues, and we are available for free consultations regarding your criminal matter. We are happy to talk to you about the methods that we will use to fight your case, and give you all of the information that you might need. Feel free to call us any time: (201) 556-1571