Having a gun in New Jersey is not always a crime, but in certain situations, it is. If you face charges that include a mandatory minimum sentence, the state may pursue prosecution under multiple laws, including the Graves Act.
The Graves Act sets out gun ownership standards and the repercussions for breaking them. Learn some of the basics of this often misunderstood New Jersey law.
What is a graves offense?
Several gun-related offenses fall under the purview of the Graves Act. The most common involves getting caught with an unlicensed or unregistered firearm. If the police catch you in possession of a firearm, and you cannot prove that you have obtained it through the proper channels, they may take the weapon and charge you for illegal possession.
What charges might you face?
The severity of the weapons charge may depend on a few circumstances. The first is what kind of firearm it is. Some guns require special licensing, such as assault rifles, while others are against the law to own in any fashion. A sawed-off shotgun, for instance, is illegal in any form.
The second determining factor in the charge is how the police found the weapon. Merely having a gun illegally is one thing, but having it on or around you during a robbery, for instance, elevates the potential that you intend to use it, and thus the related charge.
The Graves Act institutes a mandatory minimum prison sentence for weapons charges. While there are ways around this, you may need to seek the assistance of someone with experience dealing with Graves Act violations.