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It is well known by now that New Jersey takes gun offenses very seriously and that the ramifications for anyone accused of unlawfully possessing a firearm can be unforgiving. The potential penalties include not only a mandatory term of incarceration but also the imposition of a mandatory parole ineligibility period as well. Those penalties are as a result of the Graves Act, which was instituted in an effort to combat gang activity. Under the Graves Act, even for a first time offender who has a proper permit from another state, the mandatory minimum plea offer that can be extended is five (5) years in state prison with a forty-two month parole ineligibility period. With that being said, there is a Graves Act Waiver that could be obtained, however, it will be on the defense counsel to convince the prosecution that such waiver should be granted. For more information on the Graves Act and how it applies in Mercer County, please click the link.
The penalties mentioned above are applicable for anyone accused of possessing a firearm without first obtaining the proper firearms id card, even if they had a proper permit from another state. They do not taken into consideration whether or not the gun was used for an unlawful purpose. For example, was the gun used to commit a robbery or during the commission of a drug offense? If that is the case, additional charges would apply, such as possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and possession of a weapon during the commission of a drug offense.
Need a Lawyer for a Gun Charge in Mercer County NJ
In addition to harsh penalties associated with the unlawful possession of a weapon charge and the Graves Act, New Jersey makes it extremely difficult for those to lawful obtain a firearm. In order to lawfully purchase a firearm in New Jersey, an individual must first make application for a firearms id card through their local police department. If that application is approved, the individual can lawful purchase a rifle or a shotgun but in order to purchase a handgun, the individual must seek another permit from their local police department. With all these hurdles in place, there should be no surprise to hear that the vast majority of guns unlawful possessed guns in New Jersey are illegally obtained from other States.
NJ.com recently did an article that highlighted the top fifteen states that provide New Jersey with the most illegal firearms. Those states are as follows:
- Pennsylvania – 271
- Georgia – 172
- Virginia – 167
- North Carolina – 153
- South Carolina – 121
- Florida – 92
- Ohio – 59
- Texas – 38
- Tennessee – 29
- New York – 29
- West Virginia – 28
- Alabama – 21
- Mississippi – 20
- Indiana – 20
- Vermont – 13
Mercer County deals with its fair share of unlawful possession of a weapons charges each and every year. If you or a loved one has been charged with unlawfully possessing a weapon in Mercer County or elsewhere in New Jersey, we strongly urge that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As you can tell from reading above, the applicable penalties can be unforgiving if not handled properly. To speak to one of our Mercer County gun possession defense lawyers today, please contact our Hamilton office at 609-789-0779 or you can try contacting us online.
For more information on nj.com’s article about These 15 states put the most illegal guns on N.J. streets this year please click the link.