New Jersey Graves Act Lawyer
Passaic County NJ Gun Charges Defense Attorney
Alissa D. Hascup represents clients charged with serious crimes ranging from kidnapping and armed robbery to aggravated assault and weapons offenses throughout New Jersey, including in Paterson, Totowa, Wayne, Clifton, Morristown, Hackensack, and Newark.
She is a battle-tested criminal defense lawyer who has successfully handled thousands of cases in New Jersey, in Superior Court (indictable/felony level offenses) and Municipal Court (disorderly persons/misdemeanor level offenses). Ms. Hascup is also a former prosecutor and special deputy attorney general who handled a number of ‘Graves Act’ cases throughout the course of her distinguished career. Now she is on your side.
If you have pled guilty to or been found guilty of a crime involving a weapon, you may be exposed to sentencing under New Jersey ‘Graves Act.’ In those types of cases, it is imperative that you to have an experienced attorney represent you at Sentencing and argue aggressively for the best possible outcome. Contact Ms. Hascup anytime for an initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.
The Graves Act in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c)
The ‘Graves Act’ is codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c). It requires the imposition of a minimum term of imprisonment and parole ineligibility for certain firearm-related offenses.
Until 2008, the ‘Graves Act’ only applied when a person was convicted of possessing or using a firearm while in the course of committing certain crimes, or Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a).
Now, the list of offenses that are subject to sentencing under the ‘Graves Act’ ALSO includes the following:
- Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun, Handgun, Rifle or Shotgun, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(a), (b) or (c).
- Possession of a Sawed-Off Shotgun, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(b).
- Possession of a Defaced Firearm, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(d).
- Possession of a Firearm While in the Course of Committing a Drug Distribution or Possession With Intent to Distribute Offense, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4.1(a). (Drugs and Guns violations)
- Certain Persons Offenses, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7(a) or (b)(2).
- Manufacture, Transport, or Disposition of a Machine Gun, Sawed-Off Shotgun, or Assault Firearm, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9(a), (b), or (g).
- Defacement of a Firearm, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9(e).
Except as otherwise provided or negotiated, a person convicted of any of the foregoing crimes must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a minimum term of parole ineligibility fixed at, or between, 1/3 to 1/2 of a sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater (or 18 months in cases involving crimes of the fourth degree). For example, if a person is convicted of the ‘Graves Act’ offense of Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b), a crime of the second degree, the sentencing range is between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison with a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of between 3 and 5 years.
Additionally, a person convicted of a ‘Graves Act’ offense who has previously been convicted of certain firearms offenses must be sentenced to a mandatory extended term of imprisonment, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3(d). When that ‘repeat gun offender’ statute applies, the sentence imposed must include a minimum term of parole ineligibility fixed at or between 1/3 to 1/2 of the extended term sentence, or 5 years, whichever is greater.
Furthermore, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(i) provides that a person convicted of the unlawful possession of a machine gun, handgun, or assault firearm must be sentenced to a parole ineligibility term of 5 years if the sentencing court finds that Aggravating Factor 5 (Organized Criminal Activity) applies.
Alternate Resolutions for NJ Graves Act Offenses
The Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program
Because of the seriousness of firearm offenses, prosecutors often withhold their consent to a defendant’s admission to PTI unless the case involves extraordinary and compelling circumstances. Such a rare case would be one where the defendant has no prior involvement with the criminal justice system, the defendant lawfully acquired and possessed the firearm in a different state, and the defendant’s presence in New Jersey was incident to lawful travel. For information regarding the lawful transport of firearms into/through New Jersey, see the NJ State Police page on transporting firearms.
Prosecutors will also generally object to a probationary sentence unless there are extraordinary and compelling reasons. Such a rare case would be one where the defendant has no prior involvement with the criminal justice system, the firearm was unloaded, and it is clear that the firearm posed no risk to officers or public safety.
Waiver or Reduction of Sentence
N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.2 outlines a procedure to allow for the reduction or waiver of an otherwise mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and parole ineligibility imposed under the ‘Graves Act.’ In determining whether to move for or approve the waiver or reduction of a minimum term of parole ineligibility under that statute, prosecutors generally consider all relevant circumstances concerning the offense conduct and the offender, including those aggravating and mitigating circumstances set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1.
NOTE: No alternate sentence will be approved when there is an indication that the offender may be involved in Organized Criminal Activity (Aggravating Factor 5).
Contact a Totowa NJ Graves Act Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you find yourself in a situation where you or a loved one have been charged with a ‘Graves Act’ offense, a conviction may result in a mandatory period of parole ineligibility. Alissa D. Hascup understands the importance of attacking the State’s case and limiting your sentencing exposure to the greatest extent possible. She is prepared to use her extensive experience and knowledge of the law to achieve the best possible result for you. Contact her right away for a free consultation about your charges.