Using a pit bull as a deadly weapon to threaten a victim during a robbery? Our last blog post may have had some of our Morristown readers shaking their heads in disbelief. But prosecutors here in New Jersey will often go to whatever lengths they think they can get away with in order to lock defendants away for as long as possible, along with levying the steepest possible fines.
Readers may have some legitimate concerns in the wake of that story as to what else might prosecutors try to construe as a “deadly weapon” during the alleged commission of a crime. This is an important point because defendants can face aggravated criminal charges if such a weapon was used during the alleged crime. That can trigger mandatory prison sentences under New Jersey’s Graves Act.
Fortunately, criminal defense professionals are available who know how to step up the defense against these kinds of prosecutorial tactics. Authorities may try to charge aggravated crimes even based on allegations of a baseball bat, for example, or a knife that they can claim was just a fraction of an inch too long. This is not something defendants need to accept; they are entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Was there a legitimate reason to have the object in your possession? If so, a defense professional can use this for leverage in court. If the allegedly aggravating weapon was a firearm, criminal defendants may lose their permits to carry such weapons in the future.
We encourage readers with questions about this situation to visit our Morristown gun and weapons charge lawyer page. Defending against weapons charges can be complicated from a legal perspective but by no means should defendants forgo their right to tell their side of the story at a criminal trial.