Convicted of Firearms Offenses
Because of the number of tragic mass shootings and other forms of gun violence in recent years and the intense media scrutiny on gun control, many state legislatures have aimed to enact and enforce stricter gun laws. New Jersey is no exception and the laws regarding gun sales, possession, carry, and ownership are extremely restrictive. While such laws may be safer for NJ communities, they also set out harsh penalties for anyone charged with firearms offenses. For example, unlawfully possessing a handgun in NJ can result in a prison sentence of up to ten years.
In addition to the lengthy prison sentences for firearms offenses, individuals who are not citizens of the United States may face even more severe consequences of a conviction. Federal immigration law allow for deportation for firearms convictions and ICE can initiate proceedings against foreign nationals convicted of weapons offenses. Under the law, the following actions regarding firearms can specifically result in deportation if they are unlawful:
- Offering for sale
If you are a non-citizen and have been accused of any of the above firearms offenses, you need an experienced crimmigration attorney on your side. Crimmigration refers to the area of law committed to handling criminal matters while specifically considering possible immigration consequences, such as deportation. In addition, if you do end up facing a deportation hearing, a crimmigration lawyer can assist with your deportation defense, as well. Finally, if you are a criminal defense attorney and have an immigrant client facing gun charges, you should always seek advice from a crimmigration attorney who thoroughly understands immigration laws and how they relate to a criminal case and conviction.
Penalties for Illegal Possession of a Firearm
In New Jersey, you require a Pistol Purchase Permit and valid identification issued by the government to purchase a handgun. There are additional requirements and restrictions for non-citizens, however, including the following:
- For permanent residents – If you have a green card, you can purchase a handgun by presenting a Pistol Purchase Permit and a government ID, as well as proof that you have lived in New Jersey for three months before the purchase date.
- For non-permanent residents – Generally speaking, non-permanent residents may not lawfully purchase firearms in New Jersey. The exception is if the U.S. Attorney General has issued them a waiver or if they have a New Jersey hunting license. In such cases, they must also provide proof of three months residence.
If you are an immigrant and you fail to abide by these requirements and you possess a firearm, you can be charged with illegal possession. In addition to the above requirements, there are some firearms and weapons that are always unlawful to possess despite the permit process. Some of these include:
- Defaced firearms
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Bullets that can penetrate body armor
If you have been charged with possession of any of the above, you can face both criminal and immigration consequences that can substantially affect your life for a long time.
Possession of a Destructive Device
Another type of firearm or weapon that is strictly prohibited for anyone outside of the armed forces or law enforcement is destructive devices. Under federal law, a destructive device is an explosive, incendiary, or poisonous device that causes projectiles. Some examples of destructive devices include grenades, bombs, missiles, rocket, or even firearms with a bore of more than a half inch. The criminal penalties for possessing one of these destructive devices can be up to five years in prison with a potential $15,000 fine. In addition, federal immigration authorities take unlawful possession of a destructive device extremely seriously, especially due to concerns regarding potential terroristic acts by non-citizens. A conviction for possessing a destructive device is one that often leads to deportation.
Call for a Consultation with a New Jersey Crimmigration Attorney Today
Most criminal defense attorneys do not have expertise in immigration laws regarding deportation and relevant defenses. For this reason, crimmigration lawyers can step in and analyze the criminal matter to both identify the possible immigration consequences and design an effective defense strategy that seeks to avoid deportation. Experienced attorney Ronald Mondello has taken many such cases and has helped defendants and fellow attorneys alike in handling criminal matters with immigration in mind. If you or your client is facing any type of firearms offense, it is imperative that you contact the law office of Ronald P. Mondello, Esq. Attorney at Law for a consultation today.