Graves Act

Mandatory Jail for NJ Gun Charges

The Graves Act is a provision of New Jersey Criminal Law that imposes a mandatory jail term for certain gun related. For many years, this law only applied where a criminal offense was committed with a firearm but the 2008 amendments of the Graves Act expanded the eligible offenses to include virtually all scenarios where a gun is illegally possessed in New Jersey. What this translated in was a dramatic increase in the number of cases where a minimum term of imprisonment and parole ineligibility apply. If you were arrested for illegally carrying a handgun or other firearm, because you possessed a weapon while allegedly committing an offense or are facing the Graves Act for any other reason, our firm has the knowledge and experience to help you. We feature a defense team with over 100 years of collective experience and we are ready to fight for you. An attorney is ready to discuss your best options for avoiding the Graves Act at 973-839-4007.

What Offenses Fall Under The Graves Act?

If someone is convicted of or possessed a firearm while committing any of the following offenses, the Graves Act applies:

  • Possession of a Firearm for Unlawful Purpose (i.e. with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another);

  • Murder;

  • Manslaughter;

  • Aggravated assault;

  • Kidnapping;

  • Aggravated sexual assault;

  • Aggravated criminal sexual contact;

  • Robbery;

  • Burglary;

  • Escape;

  • Unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, handgun, rifle or shotgun;

  • Possession of a defaced or defacement of a firearm;

  • Possession of a Firearm While Committing a CDS Offense;

  • Certain Person not to have a weapon, (i.e. fourth degree involving weapons other than firearms, third degree involving prior domestic violence offenses, and third degree involving persons whose firearms were seized pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act); and

  • Manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of a machine gun or assault firearm.

The list of offenses to which the Graves Act applies is obviously extensive.

What is a Minimum Term of Imprisonment Under the Graves Act?

If the Graves Act applies, an individual must serve a minimum term of imprisonment without opportunity for parole. The minimum period of parole inelibility for a first degree, second degree or third degree crime is at least three (3) years. The court, in imposing a sentence, must also fix a mandatory minimum term (i.e. period that the defendant is ineligible for parole) of between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed but, in no case, less than three (3) years. For example, if the court imposed a five (5) year sentence, the period of parole ineligible/mandatory minimum would be three (3) years that must be served before there is any opportunity for release.

Are There Extended Terms Under the Graves Act?

If a person has previously been convicted of one of the above-mentioned offenses involving the use or possession of a firearm and then is subsequently convicted of one of those offenses and if in the second offense the person uses or possesses a firearm either during its commission, attempted commission or flight, the court must sentence the defendant to an extended term. This extended term is mandatory for this subsequent offender.

For more information concerning the Graves Act, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 973-839-4007.

Other Helpful Resources:

2013 Graves Act Revisions