NJ Attorney General Argues for Gun Charges to Result in Mandatory Detention Under Bail Reform

Newark NJ Bail Lawyers The New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino recently asked the New Jersey Courts to include gun possession to the list of crimes that result in an automatic request for detention under the new bail system. This request came shortly after a press conference in Jersey City, during which many politicians and lawmakers argued that gun-related offenses should carry a presumption of mandatory detention without bail. In fact, on April 7, 2017, Elie Honig, the director of the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice, sent a letter to Judge Glenn Grant, Acting Administrative Director of the Courts, and requested harsher pre-trial sanctions for certain crimes, including cases where defendants are accused of using weapons or leading police on dangerous car chases.

Bail Reform in New Jersey

On January 1, 2017, bail reform took effect in New Jersey. The new bail system uses an algorithm, called the Public Safety Assessment (“PSA”), that calculates a defendant’s risk of flight and the defendant’s danger to the community. The PSA is used to inform a judge’s decision on whether to order that a defendant be released or be held without bail. Currently, very few crimes carry a presumption of detention. However, NJ prosecutors are asking that the list be expanded. Director Honig argues that courts should give greater weight to criminal offenses such as the unlawful possession of a handgun and eluding police.

Illegal Handgun Possession Charges in New Jersey

Setting aside the issues related to bail reform, the fact remains that the possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and the unlawful possession of a firearm in New Jersey are serious offenses that can result in lengthy prison sentences. The illegal possession of a handgun is a second degree crime, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b), and the possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose is also a second degree crime, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a). Both of these crimes are punishable by 5-10 years in state prison. Additionally, the unlawful possession of a rifle or shotgun is a third degree crime, according to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(c), and is punishable by a sentence of 3-5 years in prison. When it comes to sentencing of gun crimes in New Jersey, the Graves Act, codified in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c), establishes mandatory minimum prison sentences without parole eligibility for those convicted of the unlawful possession of a firearm and the possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.

The Tormey Law Firm Fights Newark NJ Gun Charges

If you are charged with a firearms offense in New Jersey, such as the unlawful possession of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun or the possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, you should contact the Tormey Law Firm to discuss your defense. We have successfully handled firearm cases in criminal courts throughout New Jersey and we are available to defend you.