Directive Requiring Strict Enforcement of the Presumption Against PTI in Graves Act Cases

Gun Attorneys in New Jersey

Prosecutors are required to file an offense when it provides a basis for imposing a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment under the Graves Act. Ths sentencing enhancement is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6c and establishes a minimum period of parole ineligibility for someone who uses a firearm in the commission of a criminal offense unlawfully possesses a handgun or engages in any number of other firearm violations in New Jersey. An interesting issue arises in this context when the offender is a first offender and wants to secure relief from this prison sentence by completing Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”). This is not an easy feat given the eligibility requirements of the program so hiring a top NJ criminal lawyer is definitely important for someone interested in this relief. Our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, can offer you unique and exceptional credentials, including:

  • Over 200 years of combined experience defending gun charges in New Jersey
  • 10 lawyers whose practices are limited exclusively to criminal defense
  • Former county prosecutors that have served as Director of Major Crimes, Gun Task Force, Juvenile, Special Operations, and even an entire Trial Division
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys

To speak to an attorney with the experience and skill to provide the best chance of admission into PTI to resolve a gun charge, call 877-450-8301. Lawyers are available 24/7 to take your call and initial consultations are free.

Eligibility Rules for PTI in NJ Gun Cases

An individual is ineligible for Pretrial Intervention if they are facing a first degree or second-degree crime, or a criminal offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. What this effectively means is that someone charged with a Graves Act offense is ineligible for this diversion program. Please note, nonetheless, that PTI can be extended to someone provided they receive the prosecutor’s consent for admission. This relief is to be reserved for compelling cases that involve extraordinary circumstances. The question that follows is whether there exists a standard that prosecutors must follow in deciding whether to consent to Pretrial Intervention. While there is now in-depth guidance where an out of state resident possesses a gun in NJ, the same is not true outside of this scenario. The Attorney Generals Directive is:

it is expected that prosecuors will consent a defendant’s admission into PTI only in rare cases involving extraordinaey and compelling cicumstances that fall outside the heartland of the legislative policy to deter unauthorized gun possessiom (e.g. the defendant has no prior involvement with the criminal justice system, he or she lawfully acquired and possessed the firearm in a different state, and the defendant’s prsence in New Jersey was incident to lawful travel). Prosecutors should not, however, categorically deny a defendant’s PTI application. Rather, prosecutors should consider all relevent factors set forth in the PTI Guidelines and in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12 to determine whether there are compelling case-specific reasons to overcome the presumption against admission. See State v. Caliguiri, 158 N.J. 28 (1999).

Attorney General Clarification of 2008 Graves Act Directive. Pretrial Intervention is clearly reserved for rare cases involving unique facts. It is of utmost importance to select the most talented defense lawyer you can find given these limitations. Someone who knows the playbook and how to persuasively present your case like our former prosecutors is exactly what you need.

NJ Handgun Defense Lawyer

Possessing a handgun without a carry permit has dire consequences as a second-degree crime that results in a mandatory prison sentence. Escaping incarceration requires highly skilled representation from an attorney who is well versed in this area of criminal law. Our lawyers have this level of expertise. Call us at 877-450-4301 for a free consultation now.