Defendant is a United States Marine who served our country in Iraq. Defendant is one of two members of his unit who survived and returned home after their tour of duty. Defendant is licensed to carry a concealed weapon in Virginia but not in New Jersey. Defendant came to NJ to visit the other survivor whom he served with in Iraq in the Battle of Fallujah. Defendant brought his firearm with him on the trip and kept it in his car. When driving home, Defendant had his firearm on his person. Defendant stopped at a motel to use the bathroom and had his firearm on his person at the time. Defendant inadvertently left his firearm in the bathroom stall where he had left it momentarily while he used the facilities. After Defendant left and drove for some ten minutes away from the motel, someone found the firearm in the restroom and returned it to the front desk. Defendant realized he left his firearm about ten minutes down the road, turned around, and came back. When Defendant did not see the gun in the bathroom stall, he went to the front desk to ask if they had found it. At that time a large police force arrived on scene and arrested Defendant.
Disposition: NO BILL. CHARGES DISMISSED.
Charges: 2nd Degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun – N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)
Exposure: N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c) sentencing to a mandatory period of incarceration of 3 years
in New Jersey State Prison.
Strategy: I wrote a letter to the Assistant Prosecutor stating that the statute was not designed for the kind of conduct that occurred in this case and that if the case was presented to the Grand Jury I would take the case to trial, and if Defendant was convicted, I would petition the Assignment Judge for removal of the Mandatory Minimum Term of 3 years under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.2 and request a term of probation. I prepared my client to go before the Grand Jury and discuss his service record and the fact that he was not aware that the law did not permit him to carry a weapon in New Jersey, even though he was licensed to do so for his job in Virginia. Defendant went before the Grand Jury and they “No-Billed” the charges.