New Jersey has strict gun laws regarding the possession of weapons. If you are facing a weapons charge in New Jersey one of the Monmouth County criminal attorneys will help defend you during your trial proceeding.
There are a few key ways to defend yourself against weapons charges in New Jersey. They include challenging the search, challenging the search warrant, challenging the traffic stop if you were pulled over, or you can plea bargain for a lesser sentence.
Below we will look at each method in detail to see what will help your case.
Different Weapons Charges
There are two different basic weapons charges in the state of New Jersey. They are laws regarding the purchase of a firearm and criminal firearm charges. You will need to fully understand the charges against you before you and your Monmouth County criminal attorneys can begin to prepare the best defense against these charges.
Many different items besides firearms can be considered weapons in New Jersey. A weapon could be anything that can cause serious injury or lethal force against another individual. This can include firearms, knives, brass knuckles, and clubs.
You do not need to have fired a gun or used a weapon during a crime to face weapons charges. You can be charged with illegally owning or possessing the weapon. Both of these can be charged as felonies in the state of New Jersey.
The Consent of the search
During a traffic stop, law enforcement in New Jersey must inform the drivers that they have the right to refuse the search of the vehicle. In some cases, law enforcement officers say they have the right to search and make the drivers feel like they do not have the right to refuse the search.
Drivers must sign a consent form before law enforcement can search the vehicle. If this form is not filled out entirely or not signed by the driver, a judge can determine that the search is not valid and that anything found during the search could not be used during the trial.
Motor Vehicle Stop
Law enforcement must have a valid reason to stop your vehicle in the state of New Jersey. These reasons include, and are not limited to, expired inspection stickers, unlicensed drivers, improper registration, and speeding. If law enforcement has not pulled the vehicle over without a reasonable suspicion the search and discovery during the search would become invalid.
Even if law enforcement does have cause to pull the vehicle over this does not give them the right to search the vehicle. They must have probable cause after the vehicle is stopped to initiate a search of the vehicle. If they fail to show there was probable cause to search the vehicle, the evidence may not be admissible in court.
Validity of the Warrant
If law enforcement does have a warrant to search the home or vehicle it must be determined if that warrant was legally obtained and signed by a judge. Law enforcement must show a judge that a search is necessary to produce evidence of a crime.
If law enforcement that requested the warrant provided false information or made prior assumptions before obtaining the warrant, it could be thrown out and the findings from the warrant would not be available to the prosecution of the case. Obtaining a warrant does not mean that the search was valid and its findings will be admissible in a court.
If you are unable to completely throw out the search or evidence found during the search, it may be necessary to plea bargain your case. This can help reduce the charges you are facing and the amount of jail time you will have to spend if you are found guilty of those charges during the trial.
The Monmouth County criminal attorneys can work closely with the prosecution and judge to reduce your charges when you plea bargain. Any information you provide in your case or for any other cases may help further reduce the charges against you and the amount of time you will need to spend in jail. You may be able to forgo jail time for probation and community service.
Despite having strict laws against weapons in New Jersey it is possible to defend yourself when facing weapons charges. You will need to work with your Monmouth County criminal attorneys to determine if the traffic stops, searches, and or warrants used against you were legal. If any of these were not found to be legal, the evidence found would not be admissible in court.
You may also choose to plea bargain your case. Your charges can be reduced and jail time can possibly be avoided in place of probation and/or community service.