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What Are The Penalties For A Gun Charge In New Jersey?

Wall New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys serving Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County and all surrounding NJ areas.

In New Jersey, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c), A person who has been convicted under subsection b. or d. of N.J.S.2C:39-3, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-4, subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1998, c.26 (C.2C:39-4.1), subsection a., b., c., or f. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, subsection a. or paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.1979, c.179 (C.2C:39-7), or subsection a., b., e. or g. of N.J.S.2C:39-9, or of a crime under any of the following sections: 2C:11-3, 2C:11-4, 2C:12-1b., 2C:13-1, 2C:14-2a., 2C:14-3a., 2C:15-1, 2C:18-2, 2C:29-5, who, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a firearm as defined in 2C:39-1f., shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or 42 months, whichever is greater, or 18 months in the case of a fourth-degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

As set forth above, in many cases, the penalties for a hand gun charge are a term in state prison.  In the state of New Jersey, possession of a handgun is a second-degree crime.  This means upon conviction; the individual will face between five and ten years in a New Jersey state prison.  Because the conviction is a second-degree offense the individual is presumed to go to state prison and not receive probation.  Additionally, as detailed in the above statute, the individual will have to face a minimum time in state prison before they are eligible for parole.  The term of imprisonment in which the individual will not be eligible for parole will be either 42 months or one half of the overall sentence imposed, whichever is longer.  This means that this if the individual is sentenced to 10 years in state prison, they will have to serve at least five years in state prison before they are eligible for parole.  However, if the individual is sentenced to 5 years in prison, they will have to serve the minimum 42-month period before they are eligible for parole.

In addition to the above statute, an individual who is convicted of a violation of N.J.S.A. 39-7, Certain Persons Not To Have Weapons, by possessing a handgun, will face a minimum term of imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  That period of parole ineligibility will be set at five years.

 

Are There Defenses To A Gun Charge?

 

Yes, there are defenses to a gun charge.  First and foremost, if the State is unable to prove that individual was in possession of a handgun, the gun charge should be dismissed.  If the charge is not dismissed, the case can be tried before a jury.

Additionally, the way in which the gun was discovered may give rise to certain defenses.  If the gun was recovered from a motor vehicle stop, the reason for the motor vehicle stop or the subsequent reason for the search of the motor vehicle may be challenged by the filing of a motion to suppress.  A motion to suppress is a legal filing before the court which asks a court to rule that the handgun which was recovered is inadmissible against the defendant because it was recovered in violation of the United States and or New Jersey Constitution.  If this motion is successful and the gun which was recovered is suppressed, the case will likely be dismissed.

 

If The Case Is Not Dismissed, Can the Penalties Be Downgraded?

 

Yes, even if the case is not dismissed, the penalties that are associated with the graves act can be downgraded in certain circumstances.  The way in which the charges are downgraded is through a process called a Graves Act Waiver.  A Graves Act Waiver is a procedure that was detailed by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in a memo to all prosecutors dated September 24, 2014.  The memorandum can found here. http://www.state.nj.us/oag/dcj/agguide/directives/Graves-Act-clarification-2014.pdf

Under the Graves Act Waiver procedure, the prosecutors in the specific case are permitted to take into consideration the various circumstances of the specific offense.  In many circumstances, the prosecutors are permitted to offer probation and in some circumstances Pre-Trial Intervention.  The Graves Act Memorandum specifically addresses the situation where an otherwise law-abiding citizen who lives in another state, brings a lawfully purchased firearm into the state of New Jersey and possesses that firearm in a manner which would be lawful in the state in which that individual lives and purchased the firearm. In this circumstance, the New Jersey Attorney General and prosecutors’ offices throughout the state felt as though the significant penalties which are associated with The Graves Act are not appropriate to an otherwise law-abiding citizen who violates New Jersey’s gun laws.

 

Contact A Successful Defense Attorney

 

If you or someone you know has been charged with a gun offense contact our New Jersey gun charge defense attorneys.  Our lawyers handle gun charges that occur in Monmouth and Ocean County as well as the remaining counties in the state of New Jersey.  Our lawyers have successfully obtained the downgrade and dismissal of gun charges in various counties throughout New Jersey.  Additionally, our lawyers have successfully obtained graves act waivers which allowed individuals to enter pre-trial intervention as well as receive a probationary sentence.  Click on our results page to see some of our prior results and call us with any questions.  Our firm offers a free consultation to all individuals. Call our experienced gun crime attorneys today!

 

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