Seeking a Graves Act Waiver or Pretrial Intervention for Out of State Residents

Highly Talented NJ Handgun Lawyers

The prison term required under the Graves Act is particularly harsh for out of state residents who unknowingly make the mistake of transporting a handgun or other firearm into New Jersey without the required permit or license. The thought that someone who is a law-abiding citizen could be sent to prison for years because of an innocent mistake was actually a reality for many years, especially where the scenario involved possession of a handgun without a carry permit. Thankfully, the Attorney General recognized the injustice presented by this design and issued a directive in 2014 that outlines the special considerations when the individual charged with unlawful possession of a handgun is an out of state resident. Whether you are a trucker, vacationer, or were in NJ under any other circumstance and arrested for this charge, you should take the time to review this article fully.  You also need to take your firearm case seriously and hire a highly accomplished New Jersey gun attorney since failure to secure a Graves Act Waiver or Pretrial Intervention (a.k.a. “PTI”) will require that you go to prison.

The attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, have exemplary qualifications and certainly far more than a catchy website title to ensure that you avoid incarceration. Our team can offer you:

  • Over 200 years of combined experience representing clients charged with handgun and other firearm charges in New Jersey
  • Ten lawyers whose practices are dedicated exclusively and 100% to defense
  • Former county prosecutors that have served as Director of the Gun Task Force, Major Crimes Bureau, an entire Trial Division, Juvenile, Special Operations, Domestic Violence, and other key subdivisions
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys

To speak to an attorney who is accomplished in obtaining a Graves Act Waiver in New Jersey, contact us at 877-450-8301. Lawyers are available 24/7 to assist you and initial consultations are always free.

Out of State Visitors In Possession of a Gun in NJ

The special consideration that is supposed to be given to a Graves Act waiver or Pretrial Intervention for visitors to New Jersey is limited to individuals who: (1) have acquired their weapon lawfully; (2) whose possession is under circumstances that would be legal in their home state; and (3)who honestly believed they could possess the gun in NJ. The most common scenarios where this arises are Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Florida, and New York handgun holders visiting destinations like Atlantic City and Newark Liberty Airport, truckers, and random individuals driving through the state along the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and other major roadways. A prosecutor is to consider the following factors in determining whether the three requirements previously set forth are met and whether admission into Pretrial Intervention or a waiver from the Graves Act is appropriate:

  1. Minimal Exposure to Individuals in New Jersey. The consideration here is whether or not individuals had minimal or significant exposure to injury or death from the firearm. This would be the case if the gun was properly stored and being transported to or through the state. The extent of accessibility to the weapon is key when making this assessment, for example, was the handgun in the trunk or under the seat, was it loaded or unloaded, etc.
  2. Isolated & Abberational Nature of Incident. The focus here is the lack of a prior criminal record or history of conduct akin to this by the defendant. The circumstances that brought the accused to the attention of the police is also relevant, for example, was the encounter the result of a routine traffic violation or because he/she was committing a serious criminal offense (e.g. domestic violence, assault, etc.).
  3. Volunteering the Presence of the Weapon to Police. When an individual discloses the presence of a firearm to the police it tends to support the fact that they mistakenly believe nothing is illegal about their possession. We find this to be the case most often when the contact is the result of a motor vehicle stop. Conversely, an effort to conceal the presence of the weapon tends to support the fact that the defendant knew he/she was doing something wrong, in other words, their possession is not an innocent mistake.
  4. Surrendering an Unloaded Firearm for Safe-Keeping. The classic example used in this context is handing over a handgun or rifle to a hotel clerk or hotel security for safe-keeping. This type of conduct manifests a genuine interest in the safety of others in New Jersey.
  5. Circumstances Surrounding Confusion Regarding Lawful Possession of the Handgun in the State. Prior knowledge concerning the handgun carry laws in NJ is the focus here. For example, is the accused highly educated in gun regulations, including whether any limitation imposed on transport of the firearm outside of his/her home state. The point is that possession is not unknowingly illegal when a defendant reasonably knows that there is no legal basis to believe that the gun could be taken outside of the home state.

When these factors lead the prosecutor to conclude that Pretrial Intervention is inappropriate, the out of state resident may still be afforded a Graves Act Waiver. This option can result in one of two sentences: (i) reduction of the mandatory minimum parole ineligibility period from 42 months to 12 months (e.g. a sentence of “3 with a 1”); or (2) a term of probation. Please note that the Attorney General Directive under discussion encourages a plea offer of probation unless the aggravating factors in the particular case are outweighed by the mitigating factors.

An Experienced NJ Gun Offense Defense Attorney Is Ready To Assist You

No one could legitimately doubt the severity of the penalties for unlawful possession of a handgun in New Jersey. Worse yet, is the fact that ignorance of the law is no defense. The result of these two facts makes a state prison sentence a real possibility whenever someone enters this state with a handgun for which there is no commensurate permit to carry. Hiring the very best attorney to defend you under this circumstance is imperative since it may mean the difference between a year or more in prison or walking away with probation. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to assist you in this capacity with decades of success representing out of state gun owners. Call us at 877-450-8301 and one of our attorneys will provide a comprehensive consultation without charge.