New Jersey Weapons Possession for Unlawful Purposes Statute

New Jersey Weapons Possession for Unlawful Purposes N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a), (b), and (c) prohibits possession of either a firearm, explosive or destructive device with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the property or person of another.

It is a crime of the second degree.

Possession of a weapon other than a firearm with with the same purpose is a third degree crime.

The state has the burden of proving unlawful purpose.

Mere possession does not establish a purpose.

Intoxication may be a defense to the element of purposeful action of this offense.

Possession may be actual - direct physical control over the object - or constructive - although not physically on the defendant is so located that the defendant is aware of the presence of the property and able to exercise control over it and has a purpose to exercise control over it.

The state must prove four elements to successfully prosecute this offense.

First, item was a firearm, other weapon, explosive or destructive device.

Second, defendant possessed it.

Third, defendant had purpose to use it against person or property of another.

Fourth, it was going to be used unlawfully.

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