NJ Municipal Courts Prepare To Roll Out Diversionary Program
- November 25, 2013
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Until now, Municipal Court defendants accused of drug charges could apply for a Conditional Discharge and Superior Court defendants accused of other crimes could apply for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) but Municipal Court defendants accused of disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses had no such opportunities available. Now, municipal courts are preparing for the new Conditional Dismissal program to take effect. Legislation was signed in September by Governor Christie to remedy the unfairness municipal court defendants faced as a result of the lack of a “second chance” program for certain minor offenses. Previously, the only thing that could be done was to downgrade disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses to local ordinance violations which would still result in a criminal record for the defendants. Defendants who successfully complete the Conditional Dismissal program, including a year on probation, restitution to any victims, court costs, fines and other mandatory or discretionary assessments will not appear as a prior conviction for the defendants. Defendants are eligible for only one diversionary program in their histories. Meaning, if you have used a Conditional Discharge or PTI, you will not be eligible for a Conditional Dismissal. Additionally, if you utilize the Conditional Dismissal program you will not be able to use it again in the future. Additionally, defendants charged with DUI, gang activity, animal cruelty, offenses against the elderly, disabled or minors and official breach of public trust are ineligible for entry into the program. Those facing charges for controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in municipal court are eligible for a Conditional Discharge but not Conditional Dismissal. Criminal charges of any kind, even disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses such as shoplifting or simple assault committed while young or during a lapse of good judgment can have significant and lasting impacts on your ability to enter certain schools, obtain certain professional licenses, obtain employment requiring public trust, security clearances and the like as well as the stigma that can accompany a criminal record. As a result of the way criminal charges can restrict your future opportunities, earnings, lifestyle and associations it is critical that you seek and experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in any criminal charges you face, no matter how minor those charges may seem at the moment. For more information regarding Conditional Dismissal, Conditional Discharge, Pre-Trial Intervention, disorderly persons offenses, petty disorderly persons offenses, controlled dangerous substance, shoplifting, simple assault or other Municipal Court matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.