State criminal law in New Jersey defines four broad categories of weapons offenses. Possession of certain weapons may result in criminal charges. Possession of weapons for the purpose of committing a crime or some other illegal purpose may also constitute a weapons offense. Other weapons may require a license or permit. Finally, individuals with certain types of convictions in their criminal record, such as violent crimes, may also be prohibited from possessing a firearm or weapon of any kind.

The punishments for weapons crimes can also be severe, as a recent New Jersey criminal defendant has discovered. The 34-year-old resident of Jersey City was arrested on a weapons possession charge. Since the man also had a prior robbery conviction to his record, the arrest was for possession of a weapon by a felon. The alleged weapons seized by authorities included a .380 caliber handgun with a loaded magazine and a machete. The weapons were confiscated after police searched the man’s home with a search warrant. 

As I explain on my criminal defense law website, possession of a weapon without a license or permit generally results in a fourth degree crime under state law, punishable by up to 18 months in prison. Fines and other punishments may also attach to a conviction for weapons possession.

Individuals with a prior criminal conviction are also not allowed to possess weapons, and the violation of that prohibition may result in a fourth degree crime. However, the type of crime may elevate the offense. In the case of a prior robbery conviction, possession of a weapon may constitute a second degree offense. That punishment scheme may explain the high bail amount in today’s story: The man’s first court appearance resulted in bail being set at $25,000. 

Source: nj.com, “Jersey City felon back in court on gun, machete charges,” Michaelangelo Conte, Aug. 20, 2015 

Related Article: The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo, “Four Ways to Commit Weapons Offenses in New Jersey”