“First Offense gun charges in NJ are incredibly serious. Even without any prior criminal record, you could be facing between 5 and 10 years in prison.”

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First offense gun charges NJ

1st offense Gun charge New Jersey

First offense gun charges in New Jersey are punished harshly.  Typically in New Jersey, first offense gun charges are treated with a certain degree of leniency; the penalties are almost always less than in subsequent penalties.  However, in first offense gun charges, The Graves Act causes the penalties to be quite steep.  In addition to facing 5-10 years in state prison, The Graves act stipulates that at least 42 months of this sentence be served before you are eligible for parole.  What’s even worse is that the presumption of incarceration for a second degree crime means you are presumed to get prison time even with no prior criminal record.  New Jersey is incredibly tough on first offense gun charges, and any gun charge for that matter. Fortunately, if it is your first offense, it may be possible to secure entrance into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program in lieu of any imprisonment. Not only that, but if you successfully complete the program, the charges against you are dismissed.

Mitigation Package in Support of Graves Act Waiver

If you do not have any priors and this is your first gun charge, we begin by submitting a mitigating package to the Prosecutor’s Office. The purpose of a mitigating package is to highlight the defendant’s positive attributes. We begin preparing the mitigating package by speaking with our client and learning more about the client’s version of the case facts compared to what we have in the discovery package provided to us. Then, we try to understand what led to the underlying incident. For example, maybe you are an out-of-state resident that came into New Jersey without proper understanding of New Jersey’s gun laws or maybe you thought you properly transported your legally owned firearm into New Jersey but stored it in the wrong area of your vehicle. There are numerous scenarios that could lead to a gun charge, so we start with understanding the facts of the case and take it from there. Next, we obtain items from you to prove your credibility. For example, if you are an out-of-state defendant, we ask for copies of an itinerary or hotel invoice showing where and why you were in New Jersey. Additionally, we will include copies of your out-of-state gun permit, receipts related to the purchase of your firearm, proof of employment or school attendance, character letters and more. From there, we use the facts of your case coupled with case law to prove that your case should be resolved through PTI.

Generally, the Prosecutor will consider the package submitted, the criminal background of the defendant and more. If the Prosecutor’s Office agrees that you are eligible for the program, your attorney can assist you with submitting a PTI application to the Court. The application itself is two pages and has specific requirements to submit it. First, there is a $75 application fee and, to reiterate, for first or second degree charges, the Prosecutor must consent for the Probation department to consider your application. Moreover, for first- or second- degree charges a statement of compelling reasons must also accompany your application. The statement of compelling reasons and the mitigating package that we previously described are virtually the same thing. The difference here is that instead of persuading the Prosecutor’s Office for recommendation into PTI, now we are trying to make a persuasive showing to the Probation department by demonstrating that you are a strong candidate for PTI. In conjunction with the application we submit, you will also receive a call from Probation and subsequent interview. The Probation Officer will review the package we submitted and recommend you or not into PTI based on the interview. Despite whether Probation recommends or rejects you, it is not the end of the world. Ultimately, it will be up to the Prosecutor whether or not you get into PTI and what conditions will be required of you during PTI.

Let’s say that you are recommended into PTI from the Prosecutor and Probation. If you are recommended into PTI, there are usually a specified number of months that you will be required to remain in PTI. The standard timeframe is usually from 12-36 months. You may also be required to complete both standard and special conditions of your PTI. Special conditions of PTI may include, but are not limited to: random drug and alcohol testing, psychological counseling, or forfeiture of one’s firearm and/or FID card. These are all things that could be asked for as a potential condition into PTI. By agreeing and complying with the conditions of your PTI, you can achieve a gun charge dismissal. You then can expunge the arrest and underlying firearms offense from your record as well, essentially erasing the event from your past altogether.

In order to enter into PTI on a second degree gun charge in New Jersey, you must actually plead guilty to the offense. This guilty plea is irrelevant as long as you successfully complete the PTI probation because then the entire case is dismissed. However, if you violate your PTI probation, your charges come back and they already have your guilty plea so then you will be sentenced on the underlying charge.

Here are some real NJ gun cases that were successfully handled by the NJ gun charge attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC:

Not Eligible or Rejected from PTI? Still can get Probation to Stay Out of Jail

If you are not eligible for PTI because you have used a diversionary program before, or because you have a prior criminal record, or if the prosecutor refuses to allow you to apply for PTI, you can still potentially stay out of jail/prison with a Graves Act waiver. The typical offer is 5 years, 42 months without parole. If the State gives you a waiver, they will typically lower the offer to 5 years and one year without parole or 3 years and 1 year without parole. But that still means at least a year in prison. However, your attorney may be able to convince them to grant the waiver and give you straight probation with no jail.

Here are some of our defense strategies to fight your charges in court:

How To Beat A Gun Charge

How to beat a gun charge #1: Challenging the “consent” of a search.
How to beat a gun charge #2. Challenging motor vehicle stops and illegal searches.
How to beat a gun charge #3. Challenging Bad Warrants and Illegal Searches
How to beat a gun charge #4. Plea negotiations and reducing sentencing minimums.
How to beat a gun charge #5. Transporting a gun to the range.

Other Gun Related Pages

NJ Gun Lawyer – Why you should consider hiring an attorney for your gun charge.

NJ Gun Laws – A comprehensive breakdown of gun laws in New Jersey.

Possession of a Weapon Charge NJ – Information on general weapons possession.

Possession of a Destructive Device NJ – Laws on destructive devices in NJ.

NJ Gun Permit Attorney – If you need an attorney for gun permits.

New Jersey Gun Permits – Information about obtaining paperwork for NJ firearms.

Gun Charges NJ – What your facing after NJ gun charges and how to fight them.

Certain Persons Offenses – Info about “certain persons to not own firearms” offenses.

BB Gun Charges – BB Gun Laws in New Jersey.

First Offense Gun Charges – Information about what happens on a first offense gun charge.

Forfeiture of Weapons – Sometimes the police will take your guns after a domestic dispute.

Gun Case Victories #1 – One of the gun cases that we won in NJ.

Gun Charges In NJ – A video on gun charges in NJ.

Gun Permit Attorney – A video on hiring an attorney to help you obtain gun permits.

Firearm and Weapon Charges NJ – An overview of how our firm handles gun charges

First Offense Gun Charges in NJ? Contact us now for free consultation


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Experience You Can Trust

With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation. With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

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Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

The Tormey Law Firm

Areas we serve

Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Somerset County including Morristown, Denville, Dover, Mount Olive, Parsippany, Hackensack, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Fort Lee, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ridgefield Park, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Clifton, and Wayne.

  • Hackensack Office

    254 State Street Hackensack, NJ 07601

    (201) 556-1570

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  • Morristown Office

    55 Madison Avenue Suite 400, Morristown, NJ 07960

    (908) 336-5008

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