Gloucester City NJ Handgun Defense Lawyer
In 1981, the New Jersey legislature enacted the Graves Act which imposes mandatory minimum terms of incarceration whenever an individual is in possession of an illegal handgun or another firearm. If you were charged in Gloucester City or another municipality with an offense falling under the Graves Act you will not only be exposed to the prison term that applies to your charge but also a minimum period of incarceration that you must serve before you can be considered for parole. The implications of the Graves Act can be avoided, however, if you successfully defend the underlying weapon offense, secure a waiver from its application, or can gain admission into Pretrial Intervention. The attorneys at our firm are highly knowledgeable in firearm regulations as not only members of the defense bar for over 100 years combined but also as longtime gun owners. We handle a handgun and other Graves Act-related charges throughout Camden County including for individuals arrested in Winslow, Camden and Pennsauken. To speak to a lawyer at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in a free initial consultation, contact our office in Cherry Hill anytime 24/7 at 856-662-8300.
New Jersey Graves Act Explained
Your offense falls within the Graves Act if you possessed a firearm during the course of the commission of certain enumerated charges. This law requires mandatory parole ineligibility if you were in possession or used a firearm while attempting or committing a violation such as:
- aggravated assault
- aggravated sexual assault
- aggravated criminal sexual contact
- unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun
- possession of a defaced firearm
- possession of a firearm while committing a drug offense
- unlawful possession of a machine gun
- unlawful possession of a handgun
- unlawful possession of rifle or shotgun
- a certain person not to have a weapon
It is important to keep in mind that the Graves Act does not create a separate offense in addition to those just set forth but rather triggers a sentencing requirement to be applied by the judge presiding over your case. In first, second and third degree cases, the court must set a minimum term of incarceration of between one-third and one-half of the sentenced imposed or forty-two months, whichever is greater. If the offense is a fourth-degree crime then the mandatory minimum is eighteen months. A defendant cannot be considered for parole until such time as his or her mandatory minimum term has been satisfied under the Graves Act.
Possession or Use of Gun Requirement.
The handgun or another firearm need not be loaded in order to implicate the Graves Act. All that is required for this sentencing provision to apply is for the defendant to actually or constructively possess a gun or to use such a weapon during the course of a qualifying offense.
Restrictions on Plea Bargaining.
The Supreme Court has restricted the ability to utilize plea bargaining in Graves Act cases. A court cannot permit dismissal of a charge which falls under the mandatory requirements of this law unless one or more of four circumstances apply: (1) the prosecutor represents that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the offense; (2) the defendant is pleading guilty to an offense requiring a parole ineligibility of at least the same length as that which would have applied under the Graves Act; (3) the plea bargain is necessary to ensure the cooperation of the defendant with the prosecution; or (4) the judge finds compelling reasons to allow the plea bargain.
Exclusion from Drug Court.
An individual is excluded from drug court if he or she is subject to a Graves Act violation.
Pennsauken NJ Unlawful Possession of a Handgun Attorney
Pennsauken is one of the largest municipalities in Camden County and has direct access to Pennsylvania where handguns and other firearms are more prevalent. It is not surprising that there are more Graves offenses in this township than what would be expected. For those charged with an offense falling under this sentencing requirement, hiring an attorney who is highly experienced is an absolute necessity in our view. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the knowledge and skill we are referring to with decades successfully defending firearms charges. To speak to a lawyer with the tools you need to escape a conviction, call our Cherry Hill Office at 856-662-8300 for a free consultation.