In this case, our client was charged in Passaic County with 2 counts of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, 2 counts of Theft and 1 count of Burglary. This was one of my favorite case that I have had recently. The client was just a really great guy with no criminal record. A family member from out of state had called the police to ask them to check on him due to concerns about his mental health. Once the police arrived, they had found that he had entered his roommate’s room, took out a gun and moved it across the house. At no point did his roommate indicate that he wanted to press charges. In fact, both men were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. My client was also charged with burglary for entering into the roommate’s room (of the apartment that my client owned) and theft for taking the guns.
You are reading this correctly. The roommate (who I also represented) was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon even though the weapons were inside an apartment, stored properly and were not a high powered rifle or anything that would be per se illegal. Do you see what type of state we live in? You could be arrested for the lawful possession of a handgun in your own house! Luckily, the roommate’s charges were quickly dismissed. However, my client that is the subject of this post was indicted and the state fought like hell to put him in prison. Yes, prison even though 1) he was a first offender and 2) there was no evidence that we was threatening anyone with these guns or doing anything else improper with them.
The theft charge was also insane. If you take something in your own house that belongs to someone else and move in about 20 feet across the house, you could be charged with theft? Apparently so. Also, if you go into a part of your house that someone else is using, that is now trespassing. If you trespass with the intent to commit a crime, that is burglary. The weapons charge came from my client not having a carry permit – again, for carrying guns around his own house.
The case went on for about a year for a number of reasons. I filed a motion to dismiss about 6 months ago and just a few weeks ago, the court granted the motion and all charges were dismissed against this client. Since he now lives out of state, he is very happy not to have to fly back and forth for court. Oh yeah, not having the prospect of prison hanging over your head is nice to. You would think that when I filed this motion, the State would say, “oops, sorry, we screwed up”. Of course they didn’t though. They fought hard to defeat my motion and they got pretty creative in doing so. Luckily, I was in front of a good job that wasn’t asleep at the switch.