You do not want to be arrested on a gun charge under any circumstances in New Jersey. Police and prosecutors throughout the state take weapons crimes very seriously, and charges involving firearms are among the most serious. Many New Jersey gun offenses can result in mandatory-minimum prison sentences that do not even give judges the option of imposing a lenient sentence. If you have been charged with a gun offense in New Jersey, one of the best outcomes you can possibly hope for is a program called “Pre-Trial Intervention.” If you can successfully gain admission and complete the probationary term of PTI, your gun case will be dismissed.
The skilled NJ firearms attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law have assisted many clients with getting enrolled in the PTI program for gun charges in Hudson County and throughout New Jersey. If you have been charged with illegal gun possession in Hoboken, Jersey City, Bayonne, Weehawken, Kearny, Union City, or elsewhere in the state, contact us at (201) 793-8018 to discuss your case and find out whether you may qualify for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. We are here to answer all of your questions regarding a pending gun charge, so don’t hesitate to reach us for a free consultation.
How Does Pretrial Intervention Work?
Although New Jersey prosecutes and penalizes crimes harshly, the state also has a number of progressive programs designed to help first-time offenders escape the severe penalties imposed for certain offenses if they meet certain criteria. Pre-Trial Intervention is one such program, but qualifying for the program is not guaranteed. If your request for PTI admission is granted, you will serve a court-ordered term of probation, after successful completion of which you will avoid criminal prosecution, you will not have a conviction on your record, and you can avoid jail time and expensive fines.
To qualify for Pre-Trial Intervention, you must be charged with a first-time criminal offense and you must be an adult. You may only qualify for the program once in your lifetime. If you’ve taken advantage of PTI even once before, you are now out of luck. You will not qualify again. You are also ineligible for the program if you have been on parole, on probation, or have been incarcerated in the five years prior to the charge arrest for which you are seeking Pre-Trial Intervention. You will not qualify for the program if you have taken advantage of another diversion program in the past either.
Assuming you can meet all these requirements, you may apply for Pre-Trial Intervention through your county’s Criminal Diversion Office within 28 days after you have been charged. Your application will be routed to a probation office and prosecutor. You must submit a $75 application fee, submit to an interview with the probation department, provide details regarding your prior employment and educational history, and answer questions about the events that led to your arrest. The probation office, and then the prosecutor, will ultimately decide whether to recommend you. If they deny your application, you can appeal, but this is a significantly complex process best left to an experienced attorney.
Can I Get PTI if I’m Arrested for a Gun in New Jersey?
You may be able to receive Pre-Trial Intervention for a New Jersey gun charge, but you are facing an uphill battle. Your chances of achieving admission into PTI can be significantly improved if you have an experienced gun lawyer working to help you. Gun charges are typically classified as second degree crimes under New Jersey law. For example, the most common firearms related offense is unlawful possession of a weapon, which is a crime of the second degree. These offenses carry harsh, mandatory minimum jail terms that generally make you ineligible for a diversionary program like PTI. However, there are some exceptions to these rules.
For example, a defense attorney may be able to argue that although you were illegally carrying a handgun in New Jersey, you were fully licensed to carry that gun in your home state. Even if your handgun was not licensed in another state, your attorney may be able to argue that the “interests of justice” and extraordinary circumstances—including your clean criminal record and other positive facts related to your case—allow you to qualify for Pre-Trial Intervention. Your attorney’s role is presenting a potential exception to the relevant mandatory minimum sentence that can provide prosecutors with a path to granting your PTI application.
Use the Pre Trial Intervention Program to Get a Hudson County Gun Charge Dismissed?
If you have been charged with a gun crime in New Jersey, you are likely facing years in prison. To avoid these severe consequences, it is in your interests to consult an experienced NJ weapons attorney immediately to discuss Pre-Trial Intervention and other potential ways to positively resolve your case. Our local Jersey City gun lawyers are here to help with your best defense. Call (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.