Eagles Receiver Josh Huff Faces Weapons, Drug Charges in NJ
Josh Huff of the Philadelphia Eagles made headlines this week when he was arrested in New Jersey for possessing a firearm without a permit. The wide receiver was arrested Nov. 1 in Gloucester City and charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and Disorderly Persons Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Marijuana, less than 50 grams).
If found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm, Huff will receive a minimum sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison with a mandatory three-and-a-half-year term of parole ineligibility due to a state law known as the Graves Act.
New Jersey takes firearm charges very seriously and, in this criminal defense attorney’s opinion, so should Huff. New Jersey employs some of the strictest firearms laws in the nation. Many gun owners from other states, such as Pennsylvania, are shocked when they learn about New Jersey’s gun laws.
While most residents are permitted to possess most firearms in their home without a permit of any sort, carrying a firearm outside the home is problematic for several reasons:
- New Jersey Gun Laws Are Complex — It can be incredibly difficult to navigate New Jersey gun laws. For example, I represented a client who had a permit to carry a firearm in one state and was traveling to another state where he was also legally permitted to carry a firearm. He was arrested and charged, however, because while traveling through New Jersey he secured his firearm in the trunk of his motor vehicle while it was loaded, which is illegal in the Garden State.
- New Jersey Gun Laws Are Subject to Interpretation — To make matters more complex, New Jersey gun laws can be somewhat vague and therefore allow for inconsistent application of the law. For example, New Jersey law states a person may lawfully travel with a firearm from one location to another as long as they follow carrying laws and firearms are permitted at both the point of departure and the destination, such as from a private home to a gun range. The person may still be arrested for violating carry laws, however, if law enforcement does not believe they are traveling to and from those locations.
- New Jersey Gun Laws Are Harsh — Due to Directives from the Office of the Attorney General, prosecutors are often unable to negotiate a resolution that is fair and consistent with the interests of justice. Even if a defendant simply possessed a firearm contrary to the specific and nuanced stator requirements, and never used or intended to use the firearm for an illegal purpose, the threat of a prison sentence is very real.
While New Jersey law does contain a legal mechanism to apply for a permit to carry a firearm, these permits are tremendously difficult to obtain. Drawing on personal experience from my years as a Prosecutor who received these applications, I would estimate that the vast majority of the individuals who obtained these permits were armored car drivers. For individuals employed in other fields, or simply seeking a permit to carry a firearm for their own protection, there is a steep hill to climb.
Given the complexity of the law, and the high stakes associated with a conviction for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, legal advice and counsel is not just preferable — it is necessary. Attorneys experienced in the intricacies of New Jersey law will know how to advocate the best case for their clients. For instance, recently the courts permitted defendants who negotiate a Graves Act Alternative sentence to argue for a more lenient sentence when they appear before a Judge. Several of my clients have avoided incarceration altogether due to this recent change in the law.
If you are a loved one are facing firearms charges in New Jersey, the criminal defense attorneys with Rosenberg | Perry & Associates can help. We are experienced in all facets of New Jersey weapons law and provide sound legal advice and honest and aggressive legal representation.