Philadelphia Woman Sentenced to New Jersey State Prison for a handgun – How to avoid this situation and travel through Jersey legally with your out of state gun
Recently, a Philadelphia woman was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in New Jersey. This occurred in Atlantic County and the arrest occurred after a traffic stop last summer.
It is unknown if this woman had a prior criminal history, but her defense lawyer did ask for a non-custodial (no jail or prison) sentence from the Judge. It is important to understand that while her attorney asked for such a sentence, the Judge is not authorized to go below the mandatory minimum sentence unless the attorney had filed for a Graves Act Waiver.
Without a waiver, that criminal defense lawyer was asking the judge to impose an illegal sentence which would have been overturned on State’s appeal.
Full vs. Partial Graves Act Waiver
As discussed in previous articles, a Graves Act Waiver comes in two (2) forms; partial or full. According to reports, the woman will be eligible for parole in one (1) year, so it appears that the Judge granted a partial Graves Act Waiver and there is a possibility that she won’t have to serve the mandatory 3.5 year State prison sentence. During the sentencing it appears that she faced no other charges and so she received the sentence was based on the unlawful possession of the gun alone. It is important to understand that even if this woman legally possessed the gun in Pennsylvania and had a permit to carry it, neither are defenses to this crime in New Jersey.
Unlawful possession in New Jersey is a felony offense and while it is also a felony offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania does not maintain any mandatory minimum sentencing for this type of gun charge.
If you’re stopped in New Jersey with a gun and do not have a permit to carry, you will face the same mandatory minimum sentence. Do not take your Pennsylvania gun into New Jersey, as New Jersey will not honor any out-of-state permits to carry.
Here are my answers to two of the most common New Jersey firearm questions:
- If I move from Pennsylvania to New Jersey with my gun which I purchased in Pennsylvania, do I need to register it with the State?
No, you do not need to register your handgun with the State but you can if you choose to do so. New Jersey has a voluntary registration policy for firearms.
- Do I need to obtain permit to carry a handgun?
Yes. The owner must obtain a permit to carry a handgun, except for at the owner’s residence, place of business, or other owned land.
The application must be signed by the applicant under oath and must be endorsed by three reputable persons who have known the applicant for at least three years preceding the date of application. These 3 people must certify that the applicant is a person of good moral character and behavior. Applications can be obtained at police departments and State Police stations.
What else is needed to obtain a permit to carry in New Jersey
Each applicant shall demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the safe handling and use of handguns by showing the following:
1. Completion of a firearms training course
2. Submission of an applicant’s most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified firearms instructor; and
3. Passage of any test in this State’s laws governing the use of force administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified instructor.
Finally, each application must be accompanied by a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun, which states one of the following:
1. In the case of a private citizen shall specify in detail the urgent necessity for self protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun. Where possible the applicant must corroborate the existence of any specific threats or previous attacks by reference to reports of such incidents to the appropriate law enforcement agencies; or
2. In the case of employees of private detective agencies, armored car companies and private security companies, that:
i. In the course of performing statutorily authorized duties, the applicant is subject to a substantial threat of serious bodily harm; and
ii. That carrying a handgun by the applicant is necessary to reduce the threat of unjustifiable serious bodily harm to any person.
How do I travel through New Jersey with a handgun legally
All weapons being transported into the State must be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in PA & NJ
Please click here to contact our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. We offer free case reviews and serve the following areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Atlantic City, Camden, Cherry Hill, Chester, Conshohocken, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown, Salem, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Providence, Vineland & Woodbury areas.