New Jersey Red Flag Law Attorney
Top-Rated Defense Lawyer Helps Clients Understand the NJ Red Flag Law in Middlesex County, Mercer County, Union County, Ocean County, and Burlington County
In New Jersey and across the U.S., legislatures are grappling with an increase in gun violence and how to keep citizens safe. At least in New Jersey, the government response has been geared toward implementing much harsher gun laws to deter violence. The “red flag” law is one of those new gun laws. It became effective September 1, 2019, and greatly expands the ability of law enforcement and the courts to take away your gun.
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I represent clients charged with weapons offenses throughout New Jersey. I have seen how these laws work firsthand—both in the courtroom and behind the scenes in negotiations with prosecutors.
The basic idea behind the red flag law is to allow the government to confiscate your gun if:
- You pose a threat to others, or
- You pose a threat to yourself
The red flag law applies even if the person owns the gun legally and has committed no firearm-related crime.
New Jersey’s red flag law is controversial and lawmakers’ enforcement policies remain in the early stages. However controversial, the red flag law is now the law of the land in New Jersey.
Gun owners and their families are likely to have questions moving forward and I am here to help. If you have been charged with a firearms offense or have questions about the red flag law, call my office today.
New Jersey Red Flag Law Basics
The U.S. constitution gives most Americans the right to bear arms. However, as we all know, that right is not absolute. The courts have always had methods that could be used to take away guns from those who were deemed to pose a threat. Under the red flag law, those powers were expanded.
The standard of proof that law enforcement must satisfy to obtain an order to temporarily confiscate a gun under the red flag law is relatively low. The courts may have authority to confiscate a gun if:
- Someone petitions the court with evidence or testimony that provides a basis for confiscating the gun (for example, by sharing information that indicates the gun owner has threatened violence against another or himself)
- After evaluating that evidence, a judge decides that the gun owner could be at risk of injuring someone else or himself
If the court agrees with the petitioner, the judge will issue an emergency order that can:
- Allow the police to seize a gun that the person already owns, and/or
- Prevent the person in question from purchasing a new gun
The red flag law emergency order is only temporary. After the order has been issued and carried out, the judge will hold a later hearing to hear the case in more detail. At that hearing, your lawyer can present your case and advocate to have the emergency order lifted.
Trusted Weapons Charge Defense Lawyer Advocates for Clients Impacted by the NJ Red Flag Law
As noted, the evidentiary standard that the prosecution must satisfy is very low under the red flag law. The judge only has to decide that it is reasonable to believe the gun owner might present a risk to someone’s safety. Technically, the standard is a reasonable, probable or good cause standard. This is a low bar to satisfy, meaning that many gun owners could find themselves subject to a temporary order under the red flag law.
Examples of the types of evidence the judge might consider include:
- Any statements you have made to your loved ones
- Social media posts about gun violence or violence generally
- Evidence about your mental state and history
- Your past criminal history
However, the initial order is always a temporary protective measure. Most temporary orders are only permitted to stand for a ten-day period before the defendant has the right to a comprehensive hearing. That hearing provides an opportunity for a skilled defense lawyer to advocate for your right to have the order lifted.
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I have been working to protect the rights of clients impacted by New Jersey gun and weapons laws for more than a decade. As a former prosecutor, I have an in-depth understanding of the way these cases work. To learn more about how I can put that experience to work in your case, call my office for a free initial consultation today.
Call an Experienced Gun Charge Defense Lawyer to Discuss the Red Flag Law in Greater Detail
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I stay current on emerging laws and how they impact my clients. I have worked to protect the rights of clients across New Jersey for over a decade. My proven track record of success includes hundreds of not guilty verdicts and favorable case resolutions.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a weapons offense, call my office to discuss defense options today. Your first consultation to discuss your case is always free. If you choose to retain me as your lawyer, I offer competitive pricing, reasonable flat fees, and accept major credit cards.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Red Flag Laws
Although the initial order must be temporary and limited in duration, a final order can last indefinitely. To protect your right to continue owning a firearm, you must be able to convince the judge that the initial order was not justified. In other words, you must convince the judge that you are not a danger to others or yourself.
For many, it can be difficult to speak convincingly on your own behalf. You might make statements that could make matters worse. An experienced defense lawyer knows how to frame the evidence, speak to the judge and negotiate with the prosecutor to reach the most favorable result possible given the facts of your case.
Yes. While your criminal history is a factor the court can consider, it is not determinative. The purpose behind the law is to prevent crimes before they happen, rather than to punish for existing offenses.