Getting into the PTI Program for a Gun Charge in New Jersey
Pre-Trial Intervention for NJ Firearms Possession Charges
What can you expect if you are arrested on a gun charge in New Jersey? Given that most gun charges in the state are second degree indictable crimes, you may or may not know you are looking at prison time and high fines. Even if it is your first brush with the law, it may be difficult to access some of the first-time offender programs, like the Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI), which allows certain first offenders a supervised rehabilitation program at the completion of which the participant has a clean record again. PTI is generally only available for lower grade crimes of the third degree and below. With the right assistance, however, you may be able to enroll in the PTI program when charged with illegal handgun possession or a similar gun offense. A firearms defense attorney who knows the ropes around the New Jersey criminal justice system can possibly help you overcome the hurdle of presumed disqualification for PTI.
To find out if you may be eligible for Pre-Trial Intervention in a weapons case in Newark, Paterson, Hackensack, New Brunswick, Toms River, or another Superior Court in New Jersey, call our renowned defense firm at (201)-556-1570. Our lawyers have successfully obtained PTI admission for scores of clients in NJ gun cases statewide and we are here to assist you 24/7. Consultations are free, so contact us to discuss your gun possession charge at no cost.
Applying to the PTI Program for a Gun Possession Charge in New Jersey
In order to get into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program for illegal weapons possession, you must go through the legal process. After arrest, the court sets your hearing dates to press the case through the criminal justice system, from arraignment to pretrial to trial, unless your attorney negotiates a plea deal, in which case you skip the trial and go straight to sentencing. For a second degree crime, you could face up to 10 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine. Gun charges, like wrongful possession of a firearm without proper permits or driving with an unsecured weapon, are violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, which means The Graves Act applies and you will have to serve a mandatory minimum term of incarceration, typically 42 months, minimally, before becoming eligible for parole. Though difficult, a skilled weapons attorney can ask the court to waive the mandatory minimum sentence or even order probation or PTI, rather than the mandatory incarceration for gun possession violations. A prosecutor would have to agree to file the motion requesting the waiver.
As a first-time offender charged with a gun in New Jersey, you could apply for the PTI program. To apply, besides the $75.00 application fee, you and your attorney may prepare and submit a package that anticipates the eventual interview with a probation officer, who will want to know about the details of the crime, your criminal history, background, schooling, and employment. You may want to include good school grades, employment raises or awards, and character references to show you are essentially a law-abiding citizen who would benefit from a second chance to start fresh. The probation officer will then recommend or not recommend you to the prosecutor and judge as a good candidate for the program.
In granting or denying your application, the court considers the circumstances of the gun possession charge, such as whether the specific gun possessed threatened others or was safely carried, whether you have been otherwise a law abiding citizen, and other mitigating factors, such as voluntary advisement to a police officer that you possessed the firearm, whether the surrendered firearm was unloaded, and whether you were unaware of your permit requirements and limitations.
Once You get into Pre-Trial Intervention for a New Jersey Weapons Offense, What Happens
If you are accepted into the PTI program, expect to spend up to three years fulfilling the requirements, which may involve community service hours, random drug/alcohol testing, AA/NA meetings, drug/alcohol evaluations, surrendering weapons, staying employed and keeping out of legal trouble. If you are denied entry, you may appeal the decision by showing abuse of discretion on the part of the prosecutor in denying your application, which is an uphill battle. If you are admitted and successfully complete the program, you can get your arrest record removed after six months of completing the program. Beware that you can complete a PTI program only once, after which you are ineligible to participate again. In fact, any completed first time programs, like conditional dismissal or discharge, disqualifies you for PTI.
Want to get Gun Charges Dismissed through PTI in NJ? You’ve Come to the Right Place
If you have been charged with a gun offense in New Jersey, an experienced defense lawyer is critical throughout the criminal process, from helping you get the benefit of the PTI program, probation or reduced sentencing to challenging the arrest procedures, searches and seizures, and contradicting the prosecution’s characterization of the facts and the crime to the judge and jury. An experienced gun charge defense attorney can possibly convince the prosecutor and judge that you are not the defendant anticipated by the Graves Act, nor intended by the legislators in enacting it. In fact, we can often show that you are, on the contrary, the defendant who would benefit most from the PTI program. Our team has done this for countless clients who find themselves arrested for weapons in NJ. We will vet the case against you, dismantle it, and dedicate ourselves to reaching the best possible result for you or a loved one. Contact (201)-556-1570 for more information and a free consultation today.