Shaneen Allen, a single mother, was pulled over for a routine traffic stop in Atlantic County, NJ for an unsafe lane change. Thinking she was doing the right thing, she revealed to the officer that she was in possession of a handgun—which she had a valid Pennsylvania gun license for.
What Shaneen did not know is that New Jersey does not allow for the transportation of a gun into its borders–even if the owner has a valid permit and registration for it.
This means New Jersey does not have reciprocity with other states and will not honor their permits.Similarly, New Jersey’s Graves Act establishes mandatory minimum sentences and parole ineligibility for illegal gun possession. If convicted, Ms. Allen will have to serve at least three years in jail for the violation!
Though some non-violent defendants in New Jersey can be diverted to a pretrial intervention program, Ms. Allen was denied entry.
It is important to know that many people who do not have a place of residence in New Jersey (like Ms. Allen) are now finding it harder to gain entry into pre-trial intervention.
If there is one thing that can be learned from Ms. Allen’s ordeal, it is that a non-resident gun owners cannot avoid New Jersey’s gun possession laws simply because the possession of the weapon was lawful in the owner’s state of residence. Even transporting it to or through New Jersey is illegal.
This is true whether or not you knew about the law or had any intent to violate it. Even an honest mistake can lead to jail time.
It is absolutely crucial to remain silent whenever you are pulled over by an officer. If he or she asks you, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” your answer should be “No, officer. I do not.” This is not a lie. After all, you do not know what is in the officer’s head.
Likewise, do not admit to possessing anything. All of that can and will be used against you in court as an admission and waiver of your right to remain silent.
Remember, weapons charges in NJ (NJSA 2C:39-5) are serious. It is highly advised that you hire an experienced attorney to help you fight the charges pending against you.
If you were recently charged with weapons possession in NJ, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm today at 888-815-3649.