Under the Graves Act, New Jersey residents convicted of weapons offenses receive a minimum mandatory prison time sentence. There are, however, certain circumstances that are likely to enhance a sentence beyond the mandatory minimum.
If you receive a criminal charge that pertains to the Graves Act, it is important to prepare a strong criminal defense that can protect you from accusations of aggravating circumstances. Becoming familiar with some of those possible circumstances will help inform your testimony.
Possession of dangerous firearms
Some types of firearms, such as rifles, shotguns or machine guns, have a much greater potential for inflicting damage or injury than a handgun. The New Jersey Administrative Code outlines the law and public safety guidelines pertaining to all varieties of firearms and weapons. Committing a weapons offense while illegally possessing a highly dangerous firearm may result in a more severe sentence.
Certain persons not to have weapons
The certain persons not to have weapons statute lists circumstances under which certain individuals may not knowingly purchase or possess a weapon. This includes convicted felons, those with certain mental illnesses and those found guilty of domestic violence. Violating this statute while also receiving a weapons offense conviction can lead to a much harsher sentence than the standard minimum mentioned in the Graves Act.
While the Graves Act sets out to minimize gun violence by establishing a harsh minimum penalty, it does not guarantee that convicted individuals will not receive more severe penalties if the circumstances call for it. You can protect yourself from a wrongful charge by knowing how the relevant laws may affect your weapons offense case.