Domestic Violence Weapons Forfeiture Lawyers Serving Sussex and Warren County NJ
If you are concerned about being accused of domestic violence and the impact this could have on your ability to keep firearms and other weapons in New Jersey, you need to know your rights. Weapons seizure and potential forfeiture based on domestic violence and restraining orders is highly prevalent in New Jersey, often causing those accused to lose their fundamental rights to own and possess weapons for the rest of their lives. Our highly skilled NJ weapons and domestic violence attorneys frequently handle cases where this happens and we will zealously fight for the return of any guns or weapons taken by the state. It is vital that you understand the options you may have available to you to get your weapons back, and the process that you must undergo toward this end in Sussex County, Warren County, and throughout New Jersey. Contact us if you would like a free consultation regarding weapons seized for domestic violence in Belvidere, Newton, Sparta, Hackettstown, Hopatcong, Phillipsburg, Frankford, Franklin, Washington Township, or another local municipality. Having represented clients in weapons forfeiture hearings for over a decade and with members of our team who handled these hearings on behalf of the state before turning to defense, we have the unique qualifications to assist you in securing the best possible outcome. Call 973-755-1695 or contact us online for answers you need today.
Weapons Removal for Domestic Violence in New Jersey
When someone has been accused of an act of domestic violence and law enforcement arrives on the scene, if the initial investigation and conversation seems to show that there’s probable cause for an act of domestic violence, the accused party must be arrested at that point in time. In addition to making an arrest when it seems clear that some incident of domestic violence happened, police must also follow rigid guidelines related to weapons. Per the New Jersey Criminal Code 2C:25-21d(1), in the event that a responding officer determines there is probable cause to believe that domestic violence did happen, any person in the immediate area will be asked if there are any weapons present.
If it is the officer’s impression that the presence of a discovered or known weapon would decrease the safety of the victim, this weapon is confiscated. Weapons can be confiscated in a variety of ways, including obtaining consent from the victim to search the premises for weapons, a person’s verbal response that there is a weapon, seeing the weapon in plain sight, and requesting that the alleged assailant or a third party who owns or has the weapon voluntarily surrender it. In some situations, a search warrant might be obtained, but your weapon can virtually always be taken in the context of domestic violence.
The weapon can be taken from the premises at the time it is identified at a domestic violence scene, or on the basis of a temporary restraining order or permanent restraining order. Weapons can also be seized as a condition of bail, but the officer can deploy the domestic violence search protocol even in the absence of a traditional search warrant as explained above. If a firearm is the weapon in question, the permit, ID card, and any other authorizations or licenses associated with that firearm will be seized as well. The weapon and associated materials are then transferred to the local county prosecutor’s office. The domestic violence complaint, police report, and any associated restraining order should also be included with this.
Weapons Seized for Domestic Violence in NJ, Can I get them Back?
There are two options with the confiscation of a weapon for domestic violence in New Jersey, and the Prosecutor’s Office has to decide within 45 days which one of these avenues will be taken. The two possible outcomes when firearms and other weapons are seized based on domestic abuse allegations are known as return of weapons, or permanent barring from weapons possession.
Essentially, the prosecutor must determine whether or not to file a forfeiture action to permanently take the weapon and revoke all associated licenses and permits. If it is decided that the weapon should be returned, it will go back to the person who owned it, along with permits and other information. If a forfeiture action is pursued instead, a hearing must be set at the County Superior Court by the prosecutor’s office within 45 days of the notice being handed down. The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether or not the weapon will be permanently removed from the owner’s possession. If the weapon is kept by law enforcement as part of this process, that individual is barred from owning, possessing, controlling, or purchasing firearms in New Jersey.
If you have been accused of domestic violence and also had your weapon confiscated, you have a three-fold legal problem: the offense of domestic violence if that becomes a criminal case, a potential restraining order if one has been filed, and the question of what happens to the weapon or weapons that you own or possess. Fortunately, you have the right to appear at the weapons forfeiture hearing and to retain a lawyer who can represent your interests and fight for your rights in this matter.
Contact Weapons Forfeiture Hearing Attorneys in Newton and Belvidere NJ
Given the high stakes in domestic violence weapons cases, an attorney who is knowledgeable about weapons seizure and the rights of someone who has had their weapons taken away should be consulted as soon as possible after the officer removes your gun or another weapon from your possession. If you have had your weapon seized and need further support from an experienced NJ weapons forfeiture lawyer, contact us now at 973-755-1695 to speak with an attorney about your domestic violence case and weapons seizure issue today. A member of our team is always available to provide you with a free consultation.