Couple Arrested in Mahwah with Loaded Pistol on Passenger’s Lap

According to police in Mahwah, a couple were found parked suspiciously in an isolated area. When Officer Richard Albro observed the 1988 GMC C15, which had no front license plate parked backed into the woods, it was just after midnight on July 6. Upon investigation, the officer asked the driver (who was standing outside), and the passenger (who was in her seat) if either of them were armed. Police allege that 43 year-old Cassandra Unser, the passenger, said that she was armed and that she had a gun in her lap. 

The Officer ordered her to put her hands on the dashboard, and he called for backup. Officer Albro also confiscated a pocket knife from the 42 year-old driver during a pat down for safety. The weapon police found was a .40-caliber Taurus pt140g1 which was semi-automatic with hollow-point bullets. The couple were charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of prohibited ammunition. The two were lodged in Bergen County Jail but were released shortly after due to bail reform. Click here to read more at

New Jersey handles gun charges extremely seriously and the penalties can be severe. If you are charged with unlawful possession of a weapon under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, the penalties for conviction are as follows:

New Jersey Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Sentencing Guidelines Subsections (a), (b), and (c) of the statute are subject to sentencing under the Graves Act, meaning that an individual convicted of such an offense must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a minimum term of parole ineligibility fixed at, or between, one-third to one-half of a sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater.

A crime of the second degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.

A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison.

A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.

If you or a loved one is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, you should contact an attorney immediately. Especially given the potential jail time associated with a conviction, it is essential to have an experienced attorney to advocate on your behalf. Former Morris County Prosecutor, Alissa D. Hascup is skilled and experienced at defending countless individuals charged with weapons offenses. She is committed to ensuring your rights are protcted in court and that you get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact her office for a free consultation. She is available 24/7 at 862-257-1200.