Essex County Pointing a Firearm Defense Lawyers
Gun crimes, including pointing or “brandishing” a firearm at someone, are treated very seriously in New Jersey. Whether or not you intended to actually inflict harm on someone, if you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in New Jersey for pointing a firearm, you are potentially facing severe penalties including prison time and a felony conviction on your criminal record. So, while your actions may have been intended as a joke or just to get a reaction when you point a firearm at someone and are arrested and charged, it is time to enlist the help of an accomplished criminal defense attorney.
The criminal defense lawyers at our Newark law office have a track record of dismissals, downgrades, and other top results defending clients charged with aggravated assault for pointing a gun in Roseland, Montclair, Nutley, Belleville, South Orange, West Orange, and throughout Essex County. If you are facing these serious criminal and weapons-related charges, contact us at 201-654-3464 for a free consultation.
New Jersey Law on Pointing a Firearm
Under New Jersey law, pointing a firearm at someone may be a third or fourth degree offense of aggravated assault. These actions may also give rise to more serious charges. Typically, if you are charged with aggravated assault for pointing a firearm, it is a fourth degree felony offense. However, if the victim is a law enforcement officer or if the firearm involves a laser, you can be charged with a third degree felony offense. Furthermore, the same set of facts may give rise to a second degree felony for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose or a charge for terroristic threats.
Fourth Degree Aggravated Assault for Pointing a Firearm
If an individual knowingly points a firearm at someone under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference for the value of human life, they may be charged with fourth degree aggravated assault. Under the New Jersey criminal statute, firearms include handguns, shotguns, rifles, automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles, machine guns, spring guns, and air guns.
Third Degree Aggravated Assault for Pointing a Firearm
Enhanced charges may apply if an individual points or displays a firearm at a law enforcement officer. In addition to the firearms described above, the pointing or displaying of “imitation firearms,” which can include pellet guns, airsoft guns, BB guns, water guns, and toy guns, at a police officer may result in a third degree aggravated assault charge. You can also be charged with third degree aggravated assault if you point or use a laser beam or system at a law enforcement officer in a way that would lead the officer to believe that it is a weapon. This is true whether or not the laser is actually attached to a firearm.
NJ Penalties for Pointing a Gun
The penalties for aggravated assault for pointing a firearm depend on whether you are convicted of a third degree or fourth degree offense. If convicted of fourth degree aggravated assault for pointing a firearm, you may face up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Individuals convicted of third degree aggravated assault for pointing a firearm may face three to five years of imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines. If you are also charged with possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, you will be subject to an even more severe sentence and a mandatory period of parole ineligibility.
Accompanying Charges for Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose
The same facts and circumstances leading to a charge for aggravated assault for pointing a firearm may also give rise to a charge of possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose or terroristic threats. Possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose is a second degree offense, which can result in even more severe penalties. To obtain a conviction for possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, the prosecution must prove that the defendant possessed a firearm and had an intent to use it against another person or property. The penalties for a second degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose conviction include five to ten years of imprisonment and up to $150,000 in fines. These convictions are subject to New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA), which requires that individuals who are convicted of first or second degree violent crimes serve a minimum of 85% of their sentence with a mandatory parole period of three or five years to follow.
Terroristic threats is a third degree offense that occurs when am individual threatens violence with the purpose to terrorize another, cause serious public inconvenience, or with reckless disregard for the risk of causing terror.
Contact Newark NJ Brandishing a Gun Attorneys for a Free Consultation
In order to obtain a conviction against you, the prosecution must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is a reasonable doubt to any of these elements, you must be found not guilty. Our team of skilled and experienced Essex County criminal defense attorneys has aggressively and effectively represented clients charged with aggravated assault for pointing a firearm and accompanying charges for weapon possession, possession of a gun for an unlawful purpose, terroristic threats, and other crimes for over 70 years combined.
An effective defense strategy must be tailored to the facts of a case; specifically, the strength and admissibility of the evidence against you. First, we will review the evidence in your case to determine if we can challenge the admissibility of any of the evidence in court and assess whether the evidence is sufficient for the prosecution to meet their burden of proof in court. From that point, we will begin aggressively negotiating with the prosecution on your behalf and considering alternative options that may be best for you based on the facts and circumstances. Our chief goal is to dismiss the charges whenever possible, downgrade the offense, keep you out of prison, and help you maintain a clean criminal record.
With prison time, significant fines, and a felony conviction on the line, it is imperative that you equip yourself with a strong defense team to protect you and defend you against these allegations. If you or a loved one has been charged with aggravated assault for pointing a gun or another assault crime or weapons offense in Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, Livingston, West Caldwell, Glen Ridge, or another town in Essex County, we are ready to protect you. Contact us at 201-654-3464 today to speak to a lawyer who can further assist you or schedule a complimentary consultation.