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NJ Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose Lawyers

NJ Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose Lawyers

Being charged with possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose in New Jersey comes with severe criminal penalties if convicted. Under statute 2C:39-4, it is illegal to possess a firearm with the intent to use it unlawfully against a person or property.

These complex weapons charges require an experienced criminal defense attorney to counteract the allegations and build an assertive defense focused on acquittal or getting charges reduced. The stakes are high, as even first offenses come with a mandatory minimum 3-5 years in prison upon conviction.

Unlawful Purpose Firearm Possession in NJ

Under New Jersey’s unlawful purpose statute 2C:39-4, it is a second-degree felony to knowingly possess a firearm with the purpose to use it unlawfully against a person or property of another. This requires prosecutors to prove:

  • You knowingly possessed a firearm
  • You intended to use the firearm unlawfully against a person or property

The intended unlawful use does not have to occur. Simply possessing the firearm with unlawful intent is sufficient for charges.

Penalties for Unlawful Purpose Convictions

Illegal possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose brings severe penalties under New Jersey law. Potential sentences include:

  • 3-5 years mandatory minimum prison
  • Up to 10 years maximum prison
  • Fines up to $150,000
  • Parole supervision for life

Sentencing enhancements like the Graves Act can further increase jail time. And possession in a school zone, public housing, or on public transit brings additional penalties.

Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Given the strict penalties, defending against unlawful purpose firearm charges requires legal counsel well-versed in New Jersey’s complex gun laws. Look for a lawyer who:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Focuses specifically on defending weapons charges
  • Has represented unlawful purpose firearm cases before
  • Is familiar with local prosecutors and judges
  • Has a track record of favorable case results

Don’t take chances on your defense. Thoroughly vet attorneys to find the best one to fight your charges aggressively.

Fighting Unlawful Purpose Firearm Charges

There are various strategies an experienced lawyer may use to attack unlawful purpose firearm possession allegations, such as:

  • File motions to suppress evidence due to unconstitutional search
  • Dispute whether you knowingly possessed the firearm
  • Challenge lack of proof of unlawful intent
  • Allege entrapment by police

An assertive attorney will leave no stone unturned in undermining the prosecution’s version of events and creating reasonable doubt regarding your guilt.

When is a Plea Bargain Appropriate?

In some cases, pleading guilty in exchange for reduced charges may be the best strategic option. For example, pleading to simple illegal possession without unlawful purpose can avoid the mandatory 3-year prison sentence.

Your lawyer will advise if a plea bargain makes sense based on the circumstances. But you should be reluctant to accept any plea with guaranteed jail time.

Are Unlawful Purpose Charges Defensible in Court?

Yes, absolutely. Skilled NJ gun crimes lawyers know how to exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and create reasonable doubt regarding your guilt. Some examples of vulnerabilities:

  • Illegal search leading to discovery of the firearm
  • Lack of direct evidence tying you to the firearm
  • No evidence showing unlawful intent
  • Credibility issues with police witnesses

Talk to your lawyer about the specifics of your case. Viable defenses often exist that you may not be aware of.

Avoiding Conviction is Paramount

The penalties for unlawful purpose firearm possession in New Jersey are severe, with a 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for even first offenses. But an aggressive defense lawyer can often get charges reduced or dismissed when flaws exist in the prosecution’s case.

Don’t simply accept a plea deal with guaranteed jail time without exploring all options first. And never represent yourself pro se against these complex charges. Your freedom is on the line.

Are BB Guns and Replica Guns Charged the Same as Real Firearms?

Potentially yes. Under N.J.S.A 2C:39-5, BB guns, airsoft guns, and replica firearms can lead to the same criminal charges as actual deadly weapons if used to intimidate or in connection with crimes.

However, an experienced attorney can argue that lighter penalties are warranted for replica guns. Proving you never intended to use it unlawfully or to threaten others can help achieve more favorable outcomes.


Defending against unlawful purpose firearm possession charges in New Jersey requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. The laws are complex, the mandatory minimum penalties are severe, and prosecutors must prove unlawful intent.

But viable defenses often exist that can lead to dismissal or reduction of charges. Don’t assume that pleading guilty is your only option. An aggressive lawyer can frequently get charges dropped or mitigated through suppression motions, plea bargains, or securing a favorable trial verdict.

Your rights and freedom are worth fighting for. Don’t let unlawful purpose firearm charges ruin your life without exploring every defense first.


[1] New Jersey Unlawful Purpose Firearm Possession Law – 2C:39-4

[2] NJ Court Rules on Attorney Conduct

[3] Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes NJ 2C:39-4


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