New Jersey is known for its strict gun laws. If you are accused of illegally possessing a gun or another weapon, it’s important to proceed carefully. Some of the penalties can be severe, so it’s a good idea to work with an attorney knowledgeable about criminal law in Monmouth County, NJ, and the surrounding areas.
What Qualifies as a Gun Charge in New Jersey?
The unlawful possession or use of a weapon in New Jersey could result in a criminal charge. Anyone caught carrying or handling a shotgun, handgun, assault rifle, machine gun, or firearm without the proper permit may be charged with unlawful possession. In fact, even everyday tools like bats, hammers, box cutters, etc., can be considered weapons and land you in hot water under certain circumstances.
Even if you are legally allowed to own a gun, you can commit a crime by using your weapon in illegal ways, such as using it for intimidation or property damage.
New Jersey Gun Charge Penalties
If you are charged with a gun-related offense in New Jersey, one of the major laws that will dictate your sentence is the Graves Act. This law imposes mandatory minimums on gun crimes committed in the state, including simply possessing an illegal firearm.
The penalty will vary depending on the specific charge, but as a general rule, most people convicted of gun crimes in New Jersey will have to spend at least 42 months in prison before they’re eligible for parole. If they’re sentenced to a longer prison term, then they have to serve at least half of their term or 42 months, whichever is longer, before becoming eligible for parole. Those convicted of fourth-degree crimes may only have to serve 18 months, while more serious charges may come with mandatory five- to ten-year sentences.
Graves Act Waivers
Some offenders may be eligible for a waiver, which allows prosecutors and judges to consider the circumstances of the crime and offer lower penalties, including probation and pretrial intervention. This may allow some people to avoid any prison time. However, there is a fairly high standard for receiving a waiver, so it’s important to have a good criminal defense attorney to help you with the process.
If you’ve been charged with a gun crime and are looking for criminal lawyers in Hamilton Township, NJ, or the surrounding areas, we can help. Contact The Law Offices of Zapicchi & Liller LLP today for a consultation.