Second-Degree Crimes Often Prevent A Second Chance Through PTI

Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
State v. Waters decided January 30, 2015 by the Appellate Division is yet another case that shows the consequences of either not understanding or ignoring concealed carry/automobile weapons laws in New Jersey. The case also helps readers understand Pre-Trial Intervention a little bit better. The defendant in this case was stopped for tail lights that were out and when asked to produce his insurance/registration the officer noticed a loaded weapon in his glove compartment. He was charged with second degree unlawful possession of a weapon and denied PTI. The general provisions of PTI was explained in our last blog.
However the sentencing judge granted PTI in a bizarre twist of events and the State appealed. The facts revealed that the defendant may have possessed a valid Georgia firearms license 15 months prior but it was expired. Furthermore he was driving with a loaded weapon, a prohibited extended magazine, and prohibited hollow-nose bullets. Even if he had a valid permit he still would have been in violation of the law. Additionally second-degree crimes are presumed to preclude a defendant from PTI. The presumption can be rebutted by “showing compelling reasons justifying the applicant’s admission and establishing that a decision against enrollment would be arbitrary and unreasonable.” This was not one of those situations and just because someone may be a first-time offender also does not create a compelling reason under the standard. For the foregoing reasons the order admitting this defendant to PTI was reversed.

You can read the full case here.

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