New Jersey Juvenile Weapons Charges Lawyer
Juvenile and Student Defense Attorney in Essex County and New Jersey
In New Jersey, the list of items that may be considered weapons under the law is expansive. While certain items, like handguns and other firearms, seem obvious, there are many more that may lead to criminal charges if possessed or used by entirely unsuspecting minors and young adults. For instance, New Jersey classifies BB guns, paintball guns, and Airsoft guns as weapons. In fact, BB guns, pellet guns, and Airsoft guns are technically considered firearms that cannot be purchased or possessed without a gun permit. Additionally, New Jersey does not allow for the possession of firearms by any person under the age of 18, and outlaws the possession of handguns by anyone under the age of 21. A person can also face criminal charges for selling, giving, transferring, or otherwise disposing of a firearm or handgun ammunition to a person under the legal age to possess such items. With so many rules and regulations surrounding weapons in New Jersey, it is very common for juveniles and young adults to become ensnared in the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice systems in connection with weapons charges. These crimes entail serious, life-altering consequences if you are found guilty, underscoring the need for an experienced legal advocate to defend your innocence.
Alissa Hascup is a highly knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who vigorously defends juveniles and young adults accused of weapons offenses and other crimes in Bergen County, Passaic County, Essex County, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey. As a former Assistant Prosecutor in Morris County Superior Court, Ms. Hascup accumulated unique insight into the way in which the State prosecutes these cases. She also graduated from New Jersey’s Top Gun Program, where she received intensive training in the investigation and prosecution of gang, drug, and gun cases. She now leverages this invaluable insight to build extremely effective defense strategies that position her clients for the best possible results. With offices in Totowa, Hackensack, Camden, and Morristown, Alissa successfully represents juveniles and young adults in courts across the state. In fact, she was recently included in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 List. To discuss your case or your child’s case with Ms. Hascup today, contact her offices at 201-885-4876 for a cost-free initial consultation.
What is Considered a Weapon in New Jersey?
New Jersey delineates specific items that are considered weapons and thus, subject to strict regulations. Under the law, all of the following fall within the purview of the State’s weapons law: sawed-off shotguns, silencers, defaced firearms, stun guns, gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, billies, blackjacks, metal knuckles, sand clubs, slingshots, cestuses, ballistic knives, hollow-point bullets, leather bands studded with metal filings, and razor blades embedded in wood. Essentially, a weapon is defined as any item capable of inflicting bodily injury or causing physical damage. As such, the unlawful possession of any of these items may lead to criminal charges for unlawful possession of a weapon or possession of prohibited weapons and devices.
Weapons Charges Lawyer in Newark NJ
In New Jersey, the severity of weapons charges for juveniles and adults is contingent upon several factors, including: the specific weapon involved in the offense, the nature of the crime (possession, intent to use, etc.), and the location in which the offense occurred (i.e. on school property). Alissa Hascup defends juveniles and young adults charged with a multitude of weapons offenses, some of the most common of which include:
- Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
- Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
- Possession of Prohibited Weapons and Devices
- Unlawful Possession of BB guns, Airsoft guns, and Pellet guns
Juvenile vs. Adult Weapons Charges in New Jersey
If you are under the age of 18 and charged with a weapons offense in New Jersey, you are considered a juvenile or minor. Under these circumstances, your case will be resolved within the juvenile justice system, as opposed to the adult court system, which resolves cases for defendants 18 and older. The legal venues of these cases are separate, as are the rules, standards, and procedures that govern these proceedings. First, juvenile weapons cases are adjudicated within the the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county in which the juvenile currently resides. Conversely, adult weapons cases are tried in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense occurred.
The legal standard that governs juvenile cases is the best interests of the child, meaning that penalties are generally a combination of punitive and rehabilitative measures aimed at preventing further criminal behavior. The standard in adult criminal court stands in stark contrast, with a focus on punishment for the offender and deterrence for others who may contemplate similar crimes. When a juvenile is found guilty of a crime, he or she is adjudicated delinquent, which is similar to a criminal conviction for an adult. For a juvenile adjudicated delinquent of a weapons offense, sentences can vary significantly, but may involve probation, community service, detention, or a combination of these. For an adult, a weapons conviction can result in a period of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison, heavy fines, and classification as a “Certain Person,” who is no longer permitted to possess any type of weapon for the remainder of his or her life.
In certain cases, the State may seek to charge a juvenile as an adult. Generally, this occurs in cases involving defendants who are closer to the age of 18 (they must be over 14), when the nature of the crime is particularly egregious, and/or when the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent previously and has not responded well to rehabilitative measures. This is common in weapons cases when the juvenile is accused of possessing a “community gun.” A “community gun” means a firearm that is transferred among, between or within any association of two or more persons who, while possessing that firearm, engage in criminal activity or use it unlawfully against the person or property of another. Community gun charges are often filed against juveniles and young adults who are allegedly involved in gang activities.
Contact a Paterson NJ Juvenile Weapons Possession Attorney for Answers
If you or someone you love has been charged with a gun or weapons crime in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup for immediate assistance. Alissa regularly appears in courts in Essex, Bergen, Passaic, and Morris counties, defending the rights of juveniles and young adults with so much to lose. Contact her offices today at 201-885-4876 today to discuss your legal options. Initial consultations are always provided free of charge.