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What Is The Penalty For Using Brass Knuckles In New Jersey?


The first brass knuckles date back to Roman times, and historians believe they evolved from something called a “caestus.” This weapon was popular among gladiators, and it took the form of a hand guard made from leather and metal. Brass knuckles later appeared during the American Civil War, and some US soldiers were even issued brass knuckles during the First and Second World Wars. Today, some people continue to possess brass knuckles in New Jersey. However, this is a serious offense that leads to serious consequences.

What Is the Legal Definition of “Brass Knuckles” in New Jersey? 

There is no universal definition of the term “brass knuckles.” Unlike firearms, which have many shared components and features, brass knuckles vary greatly in terms of design and style. Perhaps most notably, brass knuckles are not always made from brass. They may not even be constructed from metal, and some variants use materials like plastics or wood.

The fact that New Jersey lacks a universal definition of these weapons provides potential opportunities to push back against charges. For example, you might claim that your brass knuckles are a piece of abstract art or a lump of plastic that is not designed as a weapon. However, more classic designs can be difficult to dispute. Typical brass knuckles are metal, featuring holes for each of the four fingers. They may also have a grip that extends to the palm of the hand.

Perhaps most notably, jewelry is rarely considered a “weapon” in the eyes of New Jersey courts. It is interesting to note that wearing metal rings on each finger is virtually the same as using brass knuckles. However, it would not result in the same criminal charges, since the rings in question were never designed to be used as weapons. This highlights the subtle inconsistencies in New Jersey’s laws regarding deadly weapons.

Brass Knuckles Can Lead to Years Behind Bars 

In New Jersey, possession of brass knuckles can be a fourth-degree crime. In other words, you could spend up to 18 months in prison if police discover brass knuckles in your possession – even if you never intended to use them.

If you were caught with brass knuckles and prosecutors believe that you intended to use them in a crime, you could face third-degree crime charges and up to five years in prison. If you actually use your brass knuckles during an altercation, you could face aggravated assault charges – and up to 10 years in prison.

Find a Qualified Violent Crime Lawyer in Bergen County

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced New City violent crime lawyer, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Although the penalties for brass knuckles in New Jersey can be surprising and serious, there is no need to accept criminal consequences without a fight. With our help, you can utilize a range of defense strategies as you pursue positive outcomes. Book your consultation today to discuss your legal options in more detail.




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Phillip J. Murphy,
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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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