The State of New Jersey passed the Graves Act in order to provide for mandatory lengthy prison sentences with no possibility of early parole. The Graves Act applies to almost all firearms offenses and violent criminal offenses in NJ. The Graves Act was even enlarged to allow for mandatory prison sentences for BB guns and air pistols in certain cases. If you or a family member are facing a Graves Act offense, you need to immediately consult with an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney because convictions can result in mandatory state prison, even if you are a first-time offender.
The NJ Graves Act applies to all firearms, ranging from assault rifles, shot guns, and hand guns, to BB guns and air guns. The statute criminalizes the following weapons:
- Unlawful possession of a handgun
- Unlawful possession of an assault rifle
- Unlawful possession of a machine gun
- Unlawful possession of a shotgun
- Unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun
- Unlawful possession of a rifle
- Unlawful possession of a defaced firearm
- Possession of a weapon while committing a drug offense
- Transportation or manufacturing of firearms
The NJ Graves Act also applies to violent offenses committed while possessing a firearm. These charges include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Contact
NJ Graves Act Enhanced Sentencing Penalties
The NJ Graves Act requires the Judge to sentence a defendant to State Prison with a period of parole ineligibility. In other words, not only is there mandatory jail, but you cannot even be considered by the parole board for a certain period. This period of parole disqualification can range from one-third to one-half of the sentence or forty-two (42) months, whichever is longer. Second-degree Graves Act offenders face 5-10 years in jail, with a minimum 42-month parole ineligibility. Repeat Graves Act offenders face a minimum five-year (60 month) parole ineligibility.
New Jersey Graves Act Waivers
The Attorney General guidelines call for mandatory incarceration on Graves Act offenses – even if you are a first-time offender. However, an experienced NJ criminal lawyer can petition the prosecutor to file a motion for a Graves Act waiver. A skillful NJ Graves Act lawyer knows how to provide the prosecutor with a mitigation package necessary for a Graves waiver. If your Graves waiver is granted, you can receive reduced prison time, probation, or in some cases, a diversionary program such as PTI which could eventually lead to the dismissal of the charges.
Contact My Office Immediately
I am a New Jersey criminal trial attorney board certified by the NJ Supreme Court. New Jersey’s Graves Act laws are extremely complex and very strict. Even individuals with no criminal record can face stiff penalties and mandatory jail for gun charges in NJ. If you or a family member were arrested for a Graves offense, contact me immediately so I can review your case and the evidence against you and advise you as to all possible defenses to make sure that you are properly represented. In many cases and circumstances charges can be downgraded or dismissed depending on the facts of your case. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.