New Jersey makes it a crime under N.J.S. 2C:39-3(c), to possess a type of metal knuckle, commonly known as “brass knuckles.” You can be charged if you, or someone in your group, or car, possessed “brass knuckles.” These weapons are criminalized because they are more capable of inflicting serious bodily injury than a human fist is. These weapons are made from brass, chrome, and hard plastic and can cause lacerations, eye and nose injuries, broken bones, and cuts. These weapons are capable of delivering a fatal blow.
Possession of “brass knuckles” is a fourth-degree crime in New Jersey, and punishable by up to 18 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. In addition, if you use the “brass knuckles” during the commission of certain crimes, you can be charged with other offenses too.
- You can be charged with Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes under N.J.S 2C:35-4(d), if you intend to use the “brass knuckles” for any unlawful purpose. This is a crime of the Third-Degree, and punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
- If you used the weapon during a fight, you could be charged Aggravated Assault, even if the victim suffered no injury. This is a Second-Degree crime and is punishable by 5 to 10 years in State Prison. This sentence is also subject to the “No Early Release Act,” (NERA), which means you must serve 85% of the sentence before being released.
- If you used them during the course of a theft, you could be charged with robbery, which is a Second-Degree crime. Robbery with brass knuckles is and is punishable by 5 to 10 years in State Prison. This sentence is also subject to the “No Early Release Act,” (NERA). A conviction for robbery stays on your record forever and can never be expunged.
Other weapons similar to “brass knuckles,” and equally illegal in New Jersey, include cestus fighting gloves, blackjacks, billy clubs, studded leather bands, and nunchucks.
Defenses to Possession of Brass Metal Knuckles
It is not a defense that you did not know the “brass knuckles” were illegal. However, there are defenses available to you. The best defense of course is challenging whether the police properly discovered the weapon (searched) and how they took it. This is done through a Motion to Suppress under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as Article 1, Section 7 of the N.J. State Constitution. Questions that must be raised here include whether there was a warrant or a legitimate reason why a warrant could not be obtained. If the court finds the “brass knuckles” were improperly discovered, or improperly taken from you, then the Prosecutor would not be able to present them as evidence against you; the weapon would be considered “suppressed.”Another possible defense is if the brass knuckles belonged to someone else, or that you did not know they were in your possession. These defenses negate your culpability to the crime. Finally, while the possession of the weapon might be illegal, the use may support a claim of self-defense in an aggravated assault case, if you needed them to defend yourself against deadly force.
If you were charged with possession because someone else in your group had the brass knuckles, then you may have a defense, if they were in a place only the actual owner had reasonable access to, like his pocket, a glove box, etc.
Preparing Mitigation Package for Your Defense
The early days of the prosecution are the most crucial time for your defense. Witnesses have to be located and interviewed and evidence gathered. Perhaps there is a video from the location where you were arrested that may aid in your defense. We will need to meet early in to discuss your version of the events and whether any of your rights were violated.
A good New Jersey criminal defense lawyer will assemble a “mitigation package” to look for, and raise any defenses you may have and if none exist, a means to keep you out of prison. This could include Pretrial Intervention (PTI) and probation.
New Jersey Brass Knuckles Defense Lawyer, Steven W. Hernandez
If you are facing a charge of possession of brass knuckles, fighting gloves, blackjacks, billy clubs, studded leather bands, or nunchucks, the possession in New Jersey, the potential consequences can be severe. Having strong legal advocacy from an experienced New Jersey Criminal defense attorney is crucial in these circumstances. Steven W. Hernandez will provide you with an aggressive representation to mitigate, or possibly eliminate, the penalties associated with your charges. Steven W. Hernandez, Esq., can review the details and circumstances of your case in order to construct a tailoring comprehensive defense against the charges you face. To help ensure your rights and future are protected, allow a New Jersey weapons possession lawyer from our firm to fight for you.
Request a free consultation. Call us today at 732-2876-2700!