Criminal Law FAQ

I Am A New Jersey Resident, How Do I Transport My Gun?

If you are a New Jersey resident with a valid permit to carry firearms, you can transport your gun to and from your residence to another residence or place of business as long as the weapon is unloaded and locked in the trunk or again stored in a secure, locked case or gun box. Illegal possession of a firearm could result in a penalty of up to five to 10 years incarceration.

What Is The Ammunition Limit For Handguns?

Magazines for semi-automatic handguns are limited to 15 rounds.

Are Hollow Point Bullets Legal?

Yes, hollow point bullets are legal to possess as long as they are stored at home or used at a firing range.

Is It Legal To Deny My Handgun Permit?

Yes, for good cause. In 2013, an individual applied to the Aberdeen Police Department for permits relating to the purchase of firearms. The department undertook a background check of the applicant and learned that he had been arrested in 1998 for domestic violence, with police responding to his home on five occasions within an eight-year span.

The Aberdeen Police Chief denied the application for handgun permits, saying that the investigation “revealed a past history of domestic violence” and charging that this was a public safety concern. The Appellate Division upheld the denial, noting that the “gun control law” allows the right to possess firearms, except for good cause. Part of the court’s decision was the fact that the incidents of alleged violence were not isolated or aberrational.

Can Police Take DNA Samples?

Yes. In the 2013 case of Maryland v. King, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the police are permitted to take a DNA sample of a suspect arrested with probable cause. The court reasoned that extracting a cheek swab of DNA is analogous to taking a fingerprint or a photo of the suspect, and thus a conviction is not needed before doing so.

In the dissent of Justice Scalia, he leveled a blistering attack on the majority decision, reasoning that this physical intrusion to obtain the DNA sample amounts to “suspicionless law enforcement searches,” which have nothing to do with the initial reason why the suspect was apprehended, but more to do with building an intrusive database of the population.

Do I Have A Right To A Speedy Trial?

Yes. The issue of the right to a speedy trial was raised in the unpublished Appellate Division case of the State of NJ v. Castro. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a speedy trial to all criminal defendants. Under the New Jersey Supreme court case State v. Szima, if there is an unreasonable delay in presenting the charges to a grand jury, the defendant may seek a dismissal of the indictment.

Can A Guilty Verdict Be Reversed?

Yes, under certain circumstances. For example, the Appellate Division reversed a guilty verdict in a criminal case because one of the jurors disclosed that he was familiar with witnesses and the victim of the alleged murder. During the trial, he advised other jurors of details of the murder that he was aware of independent of what was presented during the trial. Although the juror assured the court that he is impartial, his disclaimer was inadequate as contrary to human nature. (State of N.J. vs. Jose L. Negrete).

Can I Waive My Right To A Jury Trial?

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that before a defendant in a criminal case can choose to waive a jury trial, he or she must sign a written waiver acknowledging that the right to a jury trial is being surrendered. In these circumstances, a judge would decide both issues of fact and law by way of a bench trial.

Contact Us For The Answers You Need

At Robert A. Scirocco and Associates Counselors at Law, we understand how complex the New Jersey criminal justice system is, especially since legislation and case law are continually evolving. Email or call us at 973-691-1188 as soon as possible after an arrest. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will work hard to protect your rights.