An attorney at Keith Oliver Criminal Law was able to obtain a Graves Act waiver for one of his clients earlier this year. As a result of the waiver, the Defendant was able to be accepted into the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) on an unlawful possession of a weapons charge. The case arises out of a motor vehicle stop where the Defendant was alleged to have been driving erratically. After being placed through several field sobriety tests, the Defendant was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. He was brought to the police station, processed and was awaiting the arrival of his sober driver pursuant to John’s Law. When the sober driver, his wife, arrived, she allegedly immediately request to know whether or not the Defendant had his gun on him. As a result of alleged conversation, the officers went back to the holding cell to question the Defendant about the alleged gun. It is at this point in time that the Defendant allegedly admits that there is a 9mm handgun located underneath the drivers seat of his motor vehicle. The Defendant was now formally charged with the following:
- Unlawful possession of a weapon in the second degree in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b;
- Possession of prohibited weapons and devices in the fourth degree, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3,
- Driving while intoxicated as well as several ancillary traffic violations.
Since the handgun was located, all the charges were sent to the county prosecutors office for review. An indictment was later handed down on the unlawful possession of a weapon and the possession of prohibited devices charges. The unlawful possession of a weapon mandates that at a minimum, a Defendant be sentenced to a term of five (5) year prison sentence with a forty-two (42) month parole ineligibility period. This is pursuant to the Graves Act, which was instituted years back in an effort to curb gang violence in New Jersey. The problem is the act is to broad and tends to sweep more people than originally anticipated into the harsh penalties.
Once our office formally obtained the discovery, we were able to realize that the State was going to have a very difficult time justifying the seizure of the handgun. The way in which the Defendant was questioned about the weapon on its face appears to be in direct violation of Miranda. Geared with that issue, our office filed for what it is known as a Graves Act Waiver. This waiver is the only way for a Defendant to potentially avoid the mandatory incarceration aspect of this statute. After extensive negotiations, the Defendant, who was facing not only a mandatory prison sentence but would have almost certainly been deported based on his citizenship status was able to be granted a Graves Act Waiver.
Defendant gets into PTI on Gun Charges in NJ
Once the waiver was granted, the Defendant was accepted into the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). So provided the Defendant does not violate any of the terms of probation, he will walk away from this incident without ever serving a day in jail as well as no criminal record.
Graves Act Waiver Lawyer in NJ
Graves act waivers are extremely difficult to achieve in New Jersey. They are typically only granted to simply reduce the parole ineligibility term not eliminate the incarceration aspect in its entirety. With that being said, it is even rarer for a Defendant to be accepted into the PTI program after being charged with the unlawful possession of a weapons, especially a handgun. If you would like to speak to one of our New Jersey handgun possession defense lawyers about your options, then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. Our attorneys serve all of Mercer County, including towns like Hamilton, Lawrenceville, Trenton, West Windsor, Robbinsville and Ewing.
State v. H.G.