NJ Graves Act Lawyer
Gun Crime Attorney Helps Clients Charged with Graves Act Offenses in New Jersey
The New Jersey State Legislature first passed the Graves Act in 1981 and has since expanded the law, making most gun crime violations punishable by mandatory minimum sentences. NJ legislators wrote the Graves Act in order to discourage people from committing crimes involving firearms: the thinking was that someone planning to use a handgun in the commission of a crime might reconsider to avoid triggering enhanced penalties and guaranteed prison time. The Graves Act is one of the toughest gun laws in the country, which is why anyone charged with a violation needs a qualified NJ Graves Act lawyer on their side. Do not take any chances by talking about your case with law enforcement, the prosecutor, or anyone else who is investigating your case. Instead, talk to an attorney immediately.
Frank T. Luciano is an accomplished NJ criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged with Graves Act offenses in Hackensack, Paramus, Fort Lee, and throughout New Jersey. If you have been charged with a gun crime that involves a Graves Act violation, contact Mr. Luciano now.
What Gun Crimes Are Covered by the New Jersey Graves Act?
The New Jersey Graves Act is set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c) of the NJ criminal code. The statute covers most weapons charges, many violent crimes involving firearms, and certain criminal offenses committed while using a handgun. The specific firearms and firearms-related offenses mentioned in the Graves Act include:
- Illegal possession of a handgun
- Illegal possession of a machine gun
- Illegal possession of a rifle
- Illegal possession of a shotgun
- Illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun
- Certain persons offenses
- Unlawful disposition of a firearm
- Defacement of a firearm
- Unlawful possession of a defaced firearm
Moreover, the Graves Act goes beyond handguns and assault firearms to also cover criminal offenses involving imitation firearms such as BB guns, pellet guns, and Airsoft guns. Anyone who possesses one of these toy or replica guns in New Jersey without first registering the weapon is violating NJ gun laws and is subject to enhanced penalties under the Graves Act.
Violent Crimes Addressed by the NJ Graves Act
The NJ Graves Act also applies to certain crimes – mostly violent crimes – during which the offender uses a firearm or other deadly weapon. These other crimes include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual contact
- Drug distribution
What Are the Penalties for Violations of the Graves Act in Paramus, NJ?
The Graves Act imposes severe penalties against anyone who violates New Jersey gun laws. If it is determined that the Graves Act applies to your weapons offense case, you will be subject to enhanced punishments that include a minimum mandatory term of imprisonment, as well as parole ineligibility. The minimum sentence in a Graves Act offense case is typically at least three (3) years in NJ state prison. Keep in mind that it is still possible for the defendant to serve more than three (3) years, depending on the type of offense and degree of criminal charges. Additionally, repeat offenders are subject to even greater penalties: a person who has previously been convicted in a firearms offense case will be subject to a sentence of at least five (5) years in NJ State Prison for a second Graves Act offense.
In addition to imposing minimum mandatory prison sentences, the NJ Graves Act also limits the ability of prosecutors to offer plea deals in gun crime cases. This means that you may be stuck with a mandatory prison sentence if convicted – unless your attorney is able to negotiate a Graves Act waiver prior to trial. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible for a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to apply for a Graves Act waiver on your behalf. Sometimes, a defendant is granted a waiver if they have no prior criminal record, did not commit an act of violence that endangered someone else, and lawfully obtained the firearm in question.
Once the defendant receives approval for a Graves Act waiver, it may then be possible to secure admittance into a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) so that the defendant can avoid prison and instead complete a probationary sentence. Without a waiver, you may be ineligible for admission into PTI. Keep in mind, however, that securing a Graves Act waiver is not easy because NJ prosecutors and judges are not always willing to extend any kind of leniency in weapons offense cases. That’s why it is imperative that you secure the services of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the local courts and who can negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf.
Fort Lee Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Stay Out of Prison for Graves Act Charges
Some of the most serious crimes in the NJ criminal code involve unlawful possession of a weapon, illegal handgun possession, and related weapons offenses. The New Jersey Graves Act ensures that judges impose tough punishments against violators of state gun laws. This is true for both NJ residents and out-of-state visitors who happen to drive through New Jersey and unknowingly violate the law by keeping a handgun in the glove compartment or trunk of their vehicle. The end result for any violators of the Graves Act is likely to be severe penalties: significant prison time, steep fines, and a permanent criminal record unless you are able to get the conviction expunged. The best way to avoid Graves Act penalties is to speak with a qualified NJ criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are charged.
NJ Graves Act attorney Frank T. Luciano knows how the criminal justice system works in New Jersey because he has decades of experience defending clients against gun crime charges in local courts across the state. He also understands that many Graves Act violations stem from investigations into other crimes. As a result, Mr. Luciano often focuses on challenging the discovery evidence and filing pre-trial motions to suppress the evidence against his clients in Graves Act offense cases. For more insight into what Mr. Luciano’s clients think of his representation, read the Testimonials page on this website.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Hackensack Graves Act Violation Attorney Frank T. Luciano
Frank T. Luciano is an experienced gun crimes attorney who understands the nuances of New Jersey criminal law and who is prepared to handle Graves Act cases in Bergen County, Passaic County, Hudson County, and every other county in NJ. Call or email Mr. Luciano today to start your defense.