Illegal Possession of Firearms in NJ Casinos

Gun Lawyers Aggressively Defending Casino Weapons Charges in New Jersey

Arrested for a gun in a casino NJ top lawyers Atlantic City is an iconic feature of the New Jersey shore and casino scene. With popular restaurants, shows, and lavish casinos, places like Ocean’s, Tropicana, The Hard Rock, Harrah’s, the Borgata, and the Golden Nugget draw in millions of visitors to the Jersey seaside city each year. In order to protect all of the patrons, New Jersey has very strict laws in place prohibiting the possession of firearms or destructive devices in casinos. Specifically, New Jersey criminal law specifically lists casinos as one of the places where firearms and destructive devices are expressly prohibited.

Banning firearms from casinos is a move by the New Jersey legislature that underscores the inherent danger of having these weapons in an environment that is flowing with alcohol and, often, heightened levels of stress. New Jersey aims to ensure the safety of casino patrons and staff by prohibiting both gun carry permit holders and non-permit holders alike from bringing a firearm into a New Jersey casino. The problem is, many innocent otherwise law-abiding citizens walk into casinos and land themselves in jail for gun charges. This is a nightmare for countless New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents, as well as visitors from other states.

If you have been charged with illegal firearm possession in a casino in New Jersey, our zealous defense team at The Tormey Law Firm will fight for you. We have successfully handled a multitude of gun cases involving casino arrests and charges in Atlantic City, and in many of these cases, we have been able to secure a dismissal of the charges or an alternative to prison time through Pre-Trial Intervention or probation. Let us review your weapons case if you have been arrested in an NJ casino and explore your best options from a defense standpoint in Atlantic County and other New Jersey counties statewide. Contact us for a free consultation at (201)-614-2474.

New Jersey Casino Firearms Ban

The desire to strengthen New Jersey’s already intensely restrictive gun laws came when a New Jersey law was struck down with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that found New York’s requirement that an individual demonstrate a justifiable need for a gun carry permit to be unconstitutional. In response, the New Jersey legislature sought to tighten gun control by designating certain locations as being off limits to firearms.

Shortly after this law was enacted, its constitutionality was challenged in court. Initially, enforcement of the law was blocked, but this decision was overturned. This legal battle underscores how gun legislation, even in a strict gun law state like New Jersey, is often a very contentious and politically-charged area. Nevertheless, this New Jersey law, which prohibits all firearms in casinos, is in full effect today, and violators face stiff penalties.

Can you Carry a Gun in a Casino in NJ?

It is very important to note that the law in New Jersey prohibits everyone from carrying a gun into a casino and other locations enumerated in the legislation, even if they otherwise have a valid carry permit. The penalties you may face for bringing a firearm into a casino in New Jersey depend on whether you have a valid permit to carry a gun in New Jersey.

If you have a valid gun carry permit in New Jersey and you are arrested for possession of a firearm in a casino, you will face charges for a third degree indictable offense. This offense carries potential penalties of fines of up to $15,000 and up to 3 to 5 years in prison.

Now, if you are found to be in possession of a firearm in a casino without a valid permit to carry a firearm in New Jersey, then you will face even harsher penalties. Without a valid permit, you will face a second degree charge which carries prison time of up to 10 years and up to $150,000 in fines. This often happens to Pennsylvania residents who come to enjoy the nightlife in Atlantic City’s casinos. While you may have a permit in Pennsylvania, New Jersey does not recognize it as valid and once you cross state lines, you may find yourself in trouble with the law.

Ignorance of these provisions is not a defense; therefore, it is imperative that New Jersey gun carry permit holders stay aware of what locations they can and cannot possess a firearm in New Jersey. Equally so, out of state visitors must know what they can and cannot do when it comes to bringing their guns into New Jersey or traveling through the state. Transportation requirements for travel are also strict and unwavering, so learning about NJ’s gun laws is crucial to avoid violating them.

What NJ Visitors Need to Know About Casino Weapons Offenses

The United States is a federation of 50 independent states with their own differing laws. Those laws, especially when it comes to gun regulations, can be very different from state to state, even for those as close as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you are visiting New Jersey on work or a fun vacation to the casinos of Atlantic City, it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with New Jersey gun laws to ensure that you do not inadvertently violate them.

New Jersey only allows individuals who possess a valid gun carry permit issued in New Jersey to carry a firearm in the state. Even if you have a valid carry permit in your home state, New Jersey does not extend any reciprocity or recognize out-of-state permits as valid. As a result, if you carry an out-of-state gun in New Jersey without a New Jersey permit, you may be charged with a second degree firearms offense. The Graves Act, a law that imposes mandatory minimum sentences for firearms violations, including possession of a firearm without a valid permit or unlawful possession of a firearm, does not provide an exception to out-of-state visitors who did not realize that they couldn’t carry their gun in New Jersey. There are only a few, very particular exceptions to this.

Options for First Time Offenders Charged with Guns from Out of State in New Jersey

The Graves Act, which applies to second degree offenses including possession of a firearm without a valid permit, requires those convicted of a second degree gun possession charge to serve a mandatory minimum of 42 months in prison before becoming eligible for parole. Recognizing that these provisions can result in otherwise law-abiding citizens serving jail time if they inadvertently come to New Jersey from out of state with a firearm they lawfully possess and can carry in their home state, the New Jersey Attorney General has set forth guidance for how county prosecutors around the state should handle these cases. A Graves Act Waiver is available, pursuant to the discretion of the prosecutor, to out of state residents charged for unlawful possession of a firearm in New Jersey if they lawfully possess the firearm in their home state, possess the firearm under circumstances that would be lawful in their home state, and they believed they could possess the firearm in New Jersey.

There are two options available to such individuals facing these charges; they may apply for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), a diversionary program that allows participants to avoid prison time, or receive probation in lieu of prison, with a Graves Act waiver. There is a rebuttable presumption against admission into PTI for those charged with a Graves Act offense; however, prosecutors may not categorically deny admission into PTI and should accept an applicant charged with such offenses if it is otherwise appropriate to do so when there are compelling and unusual circumstances.

In determining if a Graves Act waiver is appropriate, prosecutors should consider several different factors, including whether individuals in New Jersey had minimal exposure to the firearm, the violation was an isolated incident, the defendant voluntarily disclosed the presence of and/or voluntarily surrendered the firearm to law enforcement, and lacked knowledge of the illegality of their possession of the weapon in New Jersey.

Contact a NJ Casino Weapons and Firearms Defense Lawyer for Help

When you are accused of a firearms offense, especially in New Jersey, your future and freedom are on the line. New Jersey has some of the strictest and unforgiving gun laws in the nation. However, that does not mean your situation is helpless. The days following a gun charge are exactly when you need to find a dedicated, skilled, and bold firearms defense attorney who will roll up their sleeves and fight for you. Mounting an effective defense begins by carefully examining the evidence in your case to assess the strength of the prosecution’s case against you, opportunities for a plea deal, and whether any evidence might be inadmissible.

Whether you got quite unlucky at a New Jersey casino when charged with a firearms offense as a New Jersey resident or an out-of-state visitor, our team of experienced New Jersey firearms lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm is ready to defend you every step of the way. Please contact us right away at (201) 614-2474 for a complimentary consultation on your case. We serve clients in Atlantic County, Ocean County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Burlington County, Camden County, and every county in New Jersey.