The penalties for a weapons offense are even more severe if you are accused of using a gun in the commission of a crime such as a robbery. For anyone convicted of such an offense, the Graves Act sets a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years, and a person convicted of possession of a gun for an unlawful purpose could face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
In New Jersey, simply possessing a handgun without a permit is an indictable offense, which is like a felony offense in other states. The penalties for a gun crime conviction depend on a number of factors, though the court will initially consider the underlying offense.
The potential prison sentences for gun crimes in New Jersey break down like this:
- Fourth-degree crimes — up to 18 months in jail
- Third-degree crimes — three to five years in prison
- Second-degree crimes — five to 10 years in prison
- First-degree crimes — 10 to 20 years in prison
Clearly, the stakes are high. In some cases, though, it is possible for the defendant to avoid jail time by participating in a pretrial intervention program. The circumstances of the arrest must also be scrutinized. If the police violated your rights, then it may be possible to have the gun evidence suppressed so that it won’t be admitted at trial.
The lawyers of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych have extensive experience in handling gun charge cases. If you are facing any kind of Graves Act charge, then you should speak with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.