Bergen County Gun Lawyers
Weapons Attorneys with Offices in Hackensack, New Jersey
There are so many reasons why you may find yourself involved with a gun-related issue in Bergen County, New Jersey. You may have been charged with a criminal weapons offense, which requires you to appear in the Criminal Division of the Bergen County Superior Court. Or perhaps you were accused of an act of domestic violence and authorities confiscated your weapons. You may need to address this matter with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s Domestic Violence Unit or Firearms Forfeiture Unit. Or maybe you filed your application for a Permit to Purchase a Handgun, Firearms Purchaser Identification Card, or Permit to Carry a Handgun in Bergen County, and it was denied. If you choose to seek an appeal, your hearing will be held in the Bergen County Superior Court. The potential situations are vast and varied; however, a knowledgeable New Jersey weapons attorney can help you to successfully address any of these matters. At The Tormey Law Firm, we do just that.
With a team of seasoned criminal defense attorneys, former gun prosecutors, and a former member of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office’s Weapons Forfeiture Unit, we have the knowledge and experience to achieve superior results in a wide range of gun-related matters for clients in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey including in Elmwood Park, Ridgefield Park, Paramus, and Edgewater. To discuss your current circumstances and find the best possible answers to your questions, contact our Hackensack law offices at (201)-614-2474 today.
As of mid-2021, Mr. Tormey has recently handled at least six (6) illegal gun possession cases in Bergen County over the last several months. Remarkably, NONE of this clients ended up in State Prison or jail based on these serious charges. Contact Mr. Tormey now for immediate assistance and a free consultation about your Bergen County gun charges.
Bergen County Superior Court Information
The Bergen County Superior Court is located at 10 Main Street, Hackensack, New Jersey, 07601. The main court office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be reached at (201)-527-2700. For additional information about the court, access the Bergen County Superior Court website.
Bergen County Superior Court Criminal Division
If you have been charged with a criminal weapons offense in Bergen County, you will be required to appear in the Bergen County Superior Court, Criminal Division. Some of the most common weapons charges issued in Bergen County include:
- Unlawful possession of a weapon – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5
- Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose – N.J.S.A. 2C: 39-4
- Unlawful Possession of a BB Gun, Airsoft Gun, or Pellet Gun – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)
- Unlawful Disposition of a Firearm – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9
- Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7
If you have been charged with one of the crimes above, or another weapons offense, your case will be handled by the Bergen County Superior Court, Criminal Division. The presiding judge in the division is the Honorable Susan J. Steele, P.J.Cr. The division manager is Leslie Darcy. The division can be reached directly at 201-527-2400.
Arrested for Bergen County Gun Charge – The Detention Hearing
If you were arrested for criminal possession of a weapon in Bergen County, you were most likely detained at the Bergen County jail on a warrant. Then, the Judge will review your bail within 24-48 hours and one of two things will happen: 1) You will be released with a court date to appear; 2) The Bergen County prosecutor’s office will move for detention to try and have you remain in jail while the case is going on. This is because of the serious nature of the charges and also if you have any prior criminal history or are a flight risk. If the State moves for detention, a hearing will be held within 5 days where the Judge will decide whether or not to release you or keep you in jail.
Having the right defense attorney there to fight for your release at the detention hearing is absolutely crucial in these cases. Sometimes, your lawyer can even negotiate with the prosecutor and have you released by consent without even arguing the motion. They can also provide evidence to the prosecutor and judge such as a permit for the weapon from another State or character references from family and friends. Things such as proof of employment or ties to the community can also convince the Judge to release a defendant from jail rather than detaining them.
Pre-Indictment Conference and Indictment by a Grand Jury
All felony cases in New Jersey originally are issued on a complaint and then must be presented to a grand jury for an indictment to proceed through the court system. However, the cases are typically first listed for a pre-indictment conference to see if the case can be resolved early on before the indictment is issued. Usually, the prosecutor makes their best plea offer at this first conference before the case is presented to the grand jury for an indictment. The defendant can accept this offer, make a counter offer, or reject the offer and have the case presented to the grand jury.
Graves Act Waiver and Plea Negotiations
If you have been arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon in Bergen County, we can help. These are very serious charges in New Jersey because under the Graves Act, these charges require mandatory prison time and parole ineligibility even for first time offenders. The typical offer is 5 years in prison, 42 months to be served before the defendant becomes eligible for parole.
This is where we are starting from in these cases. But it is not where we are ending up. Usually, we can convince the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office to apply for a Graves Act waiver which can lower the prison sentence or remove it altogether. The first step down on a waiver is usually to 3 years in prison, one year without parole. However, in many of our cases, we are able to get the defendant straight probation (without any jail time) and sometimes even into the PTI program for first time offenders. This program allows the defendant to serve probation and when it is successfully completed then the charges are dismissed.
Whether a person can get probation or PTI depends on the defendant’s background and the particulars of the case. Some of the factors include:
- prior criminal history (if any)
- gun permit in another state
- where was the weapon (any threat to law enforcement)
- was the weapon used in a crime or to threaten anyone
- was the weapon loaded
- was the weapon legally purchased
- is the defendant employed
- character references
Our experienced team of defense lawyers will put together a “compelling reasons package” in support of this Graves Act waiver to the prosecutor’s office in an attempt to negotiate the best deal possible in your case. In addition, we will examine all of the State’s evidence to determine if everything was legally done and if there are any potential motions we can file to challenge the traffic stop, search, etc.
The Tormey Law Firm Fights Gun Charges in Bergen County, New Jersey
Here are some of the many Bergen County gun cases we have handled over the years with tremendous success:
- Bergen County Gun Charges Result in PTI program
- Guns Returned to Client After Domestic Violence TRO Dismissed
- Bergen County guns and drug charges dismissed
- Gun charges in Bergen County for Virginia resident result in PTI admission
- Army reservist from Kentucky charged with gun possession in Bergen County
- BB gun charges in Bergen County
- Bergen county gun charges dismissed
- Fort Lee gun charges result in PTI for professional bodyguard
Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
If you have been charged with a criminal weapons offense in Bergen County, your case will be prosecuted by a member of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office is located at 10 Main Street, Hackensack, New Jersey, 07601. The office can be reached at (201) 646-2300. For additional information, access the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s website.
Bergen County Domestic Violence Unit
My Weapons were Seized in Bergen County – What can I do?
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s Domestic Violence unit is responsible for handling all weapons forfeiture matters that arise from domestic violence incidents. In other words, if your weapons were seized in connection with a domestic violence incident, this unit will conduct an investigation to assess the appropriateness of returning your weapons. They will also represent the State in weapons forfeiture hearings.
After police officers seize weapon(s), they must immediately transfer the weapon(s), firearms purchase identification card, permit, and any other licenses to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. They must also provide the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with the domestic violence police report, domestic violence complaint if criminal charges were filed, and the temporary restraining order if applicable.
Within 45 days, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office must determine whether or not to file a forfeiture action to permanently remove the weapon(s) from the person’s possession, as well as to revoke their permits and licenses. They may also elect to return the weapon(s) to the person. If the Prosecutor moves forward with the forfeiture action, a hearing must be held at the Superior Court within 45 days of the notice from the Prosecutor. At this hearing, the Court will determine whether to return the weapon(s) or to permanently remove the weapon(s) from the person’s possession. If the Court does not return the weapon(s) to the person, he or she is now barred from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling any firearm in the state of New Jersey.
As you can see, if a restraining order was filed against you and dismissed, it doesn’t mean that your weapons will automatically be returned. They may be. However, if the State believes that you are a danger or that you are not an appropriate candidate to possess weapons, they can file a forfeiture action on your weapons and your firearms ID card in New Jersey. Our lawyers are very experienced in handling these firearms forfeiture matters and can represent you in court. In fact, one of our experienced attorneys used to work in the firearms forfeiture unit in Morris County and he is now able to represent you against the State in one of these proceedings.
Applying for a Gun Permit in Bergen County
If you are a resident of Bergen County, you can apply for a gun permit at your local police department or submit your application to the Chief of the New Jersey State Police. For information about each of the municipalities in Bergen County and their associated police departments, click here. To learn more about the gun permit application process, visit our Gun Permit Process in NJ page.
If the police department objects to your permit application and denies it, you can appeal. Our lawyers have handled hundreds of gun permit appeals in the State with tremendous success.
My Gun Permit Application Was Denied in Bergen County – How do I appeal?
As mentioned above, if your gun permit application was denied, you are entitled to request a hearing in the Bergen County Superior Court. This request must be made in writing within 30 days of the initial denial and must be served upon the Bergen County County Prosecutor, the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, and the Chief of Police in the municipality in which you reside.
The Court must then set a date for the appeal hearing, which must be held within 30 days of the receipt of your request. Before the hearing, you will receive a discovery packet containing your initial application and associated documentation, including criminal background checks, mental health records, responses from the references you provided, and notes from investigating officers. This discovery packet may be provided by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the local police department, or the township attorney.
This hearing will be held in the Bergen County Superior Court and our experienced firearms attorneys have literally handled hundreds of these over the years with tremendous success.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bergen County NJ Gun Charges
FAQ: Can I apply for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) on my gun charges? Usually, an unlawful possession of a weapon charge for possession of an illegal handgun is a 2nd degree crime punishable by 5-10 years in prison. As a result, on a 1st or 2nd degree crime, you can only apply for PTI if the prosecutor consents. However, if you have 3rd or 4th degree weapons charges, you are permitted to apply for PTI with or without the consent of the prosecutor.
FAQ: What is a Graves waiver? A Graves waiver is something the State (the prosecutor) needs to apply for to depart from the mandatory prison time and parole ineligibility typically associated with gun charges under the Graves Act. The prosecutor applies to the chief criminal Judge in the county for a waiver after they receive approval from their office. Typically, this allows them to lower the plea offer from 5 years in prison, 42 months without parole to 5 years in prison, 1 year without parole. However, in some cases, they can even lower it further to allow for probation or PTI.
FAQ: Can I challenge my gun charges based on an illegal search? Yes, you can file a motion to suppress evidence. If the motion is granted, the charges are dismissed as the evidence seized must be suppressed and thrown out of court. However, if you lose the motion to suppress, the plea offer is usually higher and the State is unlikely to apply for a Graves act waiver to lower the prison sentence or offer probation.
For a free consultation regarding your gun-related issue in Bergen County, contact our Hackensack law offices at (201)-614-2474 today. One of our highly knowledgeable New Jersey weapons attorneys is available to immediately assist you.