Pre-Trial Intervention for Bergen County Handgun Charges
Illegal Possession of Gun Charges Dismissed in Bergen County NJ
If you have been charged with a gun offense in Bergen County, you may be wondering if you may be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program to get your weapons charge dismissed. We can help. The Pre-Trial Intervention Program in New Jersey, or PTI for short, is a diversionary program available to certain eligible defendants with no prior criminal record. If you have been charged as a first offender with a fourth degree or third degree crime, you may be able to get into PTI. In weapons cases, BB gun charges are often third degree felony offenses, meaning Pre-Trial Intervention might be a good option. Then there are typical firearm charges, which are more often than not graded as second degree crimes. While 2nd degree gun charges are usually not open for PTI, it is not absolutely barred and may become a reality in some cases. In fact, our firm has achieved this outcome on behalf of many clients facing gun charges in New Jersey. When the person finishes the Pre-Trial Intervention program, their charges are dismissed, allowing them to avoid a criminal record. Take the following case in which the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC recently helped a client avoid serious penalties for a weapons offense charge.
The client had to appear in Bergen County Superior Court, located in Hackensack, NJ, to address criminal charges for unlawful possession of a weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. Since the NJ criminal statute classifies illegal possession of a handgun as a second degree criminal offense, the client could have been sentenced to 5-10 years in New Jersey State Prison if she was convicted. Beyond that, the client almost certainly would have received prison time, not probation, because these kinds of firearm charges come with a presumption of incarceration even when the defendant does not have a prior criminal record. On top of that, the Graves Act, one of New Jersey’s strictest gun laws, requires anyone convicted of handgun possession to serve a minimum term of incarceration of five years, with at least three years being served before the offender can become eligible for parole.
The client was a female driver who had to travel as part of her job duties for a bail bonds company located in Virginia. While traveling to NJ for work-related purposes, the client was stopped by a traffic officer and cited for a moving violation. The traffic stop led to the discovery of a handgun in the client’s motor vehicle. The client had legally purchased the firearm in Virginia, but she failed to register the gun in New Jersey. Additionally, the client did not properly secure the gun in the vehicle trunk, which is a requirement for anyone transporting a gun through NJ.
The consequences of a conviction were significant for the client, so the Tormey Law Firm worked hard to defend her against the charges. Our experienced attorneys applied the client for admission into the NJ Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program, noting the client’s background and absence of any criminal history. PTI is an alternative sentencing program that gives a defendant the opportunity to avoid prison and keep their permanent record clear of a criminal conviction. In this case, the client could only be approved for admission into PTI after the assistant prosecutor applied to the Attorney General’s Office for a Graves Act waiver and the head Bergen County prosecutor approved the PTI admission. Now, thanks to the hard work of the criminal defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm, the client should be able to avoid jail and keep a criminal conviction off her record, as long as she successfully completes the probationary period. This was a tremendous result for the client and yet another major success story for the Tormey Law Firm.
Prior to a 2014 directive from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, fewer people were considered for PTI in weapons cases. Once this directive was issued, the requirements for a Graves Act waiver expanded to include out of state residents who travel to New Jersey with lawfully purchased weapons from other states. As such, if your lawyer can demonstrate that you were traveling to or through New Jersey with a gun that you obtained legally in another state, you have no prior criminal record, you had a firearm in your possession, and you had no knowledge that you were violating NJ weapons laws by merely possessing the weapon in this state, you may be accepted into the PTI program. This is often a great option for individuals charged with handguns for which they have valid permits from other states.
If your attorney can get you admitted into Pre-Trial Intervention or otherwise obtain a Graves Act Waiver on your behalf, the presumption of incarceration for a second degree handgun offense can be overcome. Once you complete the terms of the PTI program, which involves things like remaining arrest-free, your case will be dismissed. In addition, you become eligible for an expungement 6 months after completing the program, which essentially allows you to remove the arrest and initial charges from your record as well. After that, you can answer no when inquiries are made as to whether you have ever been arrested for. This can be profoundly helpful when you are seeking employment opportunities and others in the future.
Fight False Arrest Gun Charges in Bergen County – The Tormey Law Firm Can Help
To discuss your arrest on gun charges in Bergen County and your potential options to get the charges dismissed, contact The Tormey Law Firm with offices in Hackensack, NJ. Consultations are available 24/7 and provided at no cost to you.