Jersey City NJ Gun Lawyer
New Jersey has some of the harshest gun and weapon laws in the United States with legislation such as the Graves Act and No Early Release Act (NERA) The Graves Act makes crimes involving firearms, even simple possession of a handgun without a permit, subject to minimum mandatory prison sentences coupled with parole ineligibility. So for instance the average plea offer from the County Prosecutor’s Office for a Graves Act gun case would be what we call “5 with a 42” – this means 5 years in New Jersey State Prison with 42 months without parole. So basically you are guaranteed to serve at least 3 1/2 years upon conviction. NERA sentencing comes into play if the crime also involved an act of violence in addition to the gun such as aggravated assault, murder, burglary or kidnapping. The Certain Persons offense has its own parole ineligibility built into the statute so you will normally always face a minimum “5 with a 5” sentence which means you are doing 5 years in New Jersey State Prison day for day if convicted. Navigating these perilous penalties is definitely not for the fate of heart or inexperienced. Our defense firm has extensive experience handling firearm and weapon charges and can work the prosecutor and challenge the state on evidentiary issues to identify and pursue opportunities for an acquittal, dismissal or reduction of your weapon charges. Over the years we have gotten gun cases dismissed for clients based on evidentiary issues and have even secured many clients admission into Pre-Trial Intervention so their cases were dismissed upon completion.
We typically represent clients arrested or accused of any of the following charges:
- Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
- Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes
- BB Guns / Airsoft / Paintball Guns
- Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons
- Imitation Firearms
- Falsification of Firearm Purchaser Application
- High Capacity Ammonuition Magazine
- Assault Weapons Charges
Is There Any Way To Avoid Mandatory State Prison For A Gun Charge In New Jersey?
Well the simple answer is “Yes”, but the way to do it is far from simple. Now obviously winning your case at trial is always a way to avoid the mandatory prison for a gun case but that may not always be a viable option. So for purposes of this explanation we are going to focus on ways to secure a probationary sentence or PTI through plea negotiations. The first step is securing what is known as a “Graves waiver”, which is a process that allows the defense attorney to petition to the County Prosecutor to exercise their authority based on extraordinary circumstances and relax the mandatory minimum sentencing requirements which are normally mandated. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office published two separate memorandums outlining procedures and factors the prosecutor should consider in different circumstances when granting a Graves waiver and the recommended sentence that should follow. These memos were issued in an attempt to have uniform results throughout the State and try to stop the drastic differences in sentencing in each county. For instance, prior to the memorandums you may have gotten a probationary sentence in Hudson County but would have received state prison in a different county. Now each county still does things their own way and results can still differ depending on which prosecutor office you’re dealing with but the memorandums can definitely be used as a helpful outline. Now if the Prosecutor’s Office will not agree to give you a Graves waiver or will not agree to depart completely away from a state prison sentence, you can still appeal to the Presiding Judge in the County to exercise “the escape valve” exception cited to in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c) at time of sentencing. This allows the sentencing judge to overrule the prosecutor and sentence you outside the mandatory state prison range.
Union City Weapon Possession Attorneys · (201) 793-8018
All of the crimes listed above are indictable crimes (felony charges) so if you have been arrested for a crime such as these you will have to appear in the Hudson County Superior Courthouse at 595 Newark Ave in Jersey City. The County Prosecutor’s Office handles these cases very aggressively so you should expect to always get an initial offer of state prison and then have to work it down from there. Having an attorney who is experienced in defending gun or weapons offenses in Hudson County New Jersey, can be an invaluable tool in trying to achieve your goals. For instance, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can challenge the state’s case against you and work with the prosecution toward a downgraded plea. At Proetta & Oliver, we have successfully handled thousands of criminal charges including various gun and weapon crimes for our clients. If you have been charged with a firearms offense or any other weapons offense in Hudson County or the surrounding area, do not hesitate to contact us 24/7 at (201) 793-8018 or by e-mail for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.