When someone faces a drug charge and is a first time offender, New Jersey law frequently affords that person an opportunity to avoid jail and, in many cases, even a criminal record. The program available to achieve this outcome is different depending whether the first CDS offense is an indictable crime in the Superior Court or a disorderly persons charge, something that is typically handled in Municipal Court.If the first offense is a third degree crime or fourth degree crime drug/cds offense, the accused is eligible for “diversion” under the Pretrial Intervention Program (“PTI”). When the charge involves a disorderly persons offense (“DP”) like possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, being under the influence of CDS, or drug paraphernalia, then the program that applies is Conditional Discharge. When all else fails and there really is no other alternatives to a period of incarceration, Drug Court can allow an individual to obtain drug treatment as opposed to serving a state prison term. If you are interested in discussing any of these programs or are seeking representation for defending a drug charge, including having the best opportunity for being admitted into PTI, Conditional Discharge or Drug Court, call us today. An attorney that is highly experienced in diversion and rehabilitation programs would be more than happy to assist you at 973-710-1520.

Avoiding A Criminal Conviction Through Pretrial Intervention?

PTI is a program designed to rehabilitate and deter future criminal conduct, as opposed to punishing a first time offender. If an individual successfully completes Pretrial Intervention, he/she avoids a criminal conviction on their record and other consequences that often come with a third or fourth degree crime. The eligibility requirements for PTI include residency in NJ, being charged with an indictable crime of the 3rd or 4th degree, no prior criminal record, and not having been previously diverted from prosecution (e.g. prior PTI or conditional discharge). Provided these requirements have been met and the prosecutor does not object to admission, an individual is typically placed on a period of probation of one (1) year although the term of the program can be as much as three (3) years. Upon successful completion of the program, the criminal charge(s) is dismissed with prejudice thereby avoiding a criminal record.

What Is Conditional Discharge An How Does That Program Work?

Conditional discharge is extremely similar to PTI except that it applies to disorderly persons offenses. Admission into the program allows a person to avoid prosecution and have their drug offense, usually possession of marijuana, dismissed conditionally. The dismissal becomes final and with prejudice upon completion of one (1) year of conditional discharge probation. This variety of supervision is usually much less intensive than Pretrial Intervention. And once the conditional discharge period is completed without any new offenses and remaining drug free, the original marijuana, paraphernalia, or under the influence charge is dismissed forever.

Are There Any Other Programs For Avoiding Jail And/Or A Criminal Conviction?

Drug Court is an option for individuals facing state prison time. The reason why we limit the program to theses instances is because, based on our experience, it should not be resorted to otherwise. The program is extraordinarily demanding and, unfortunately, has a high rate of sanctions whereby individuals end up serving jail time anyway. In addition, if an individual is violated and terminated from Drug Court, they are subjected to an alternative sentence — the original state prison term offered. It simply is not an option unless someone is looking down the barrel of a state prison term in our opinion.

For further assistance, one of our attorneys can be reached now at 973-710-1520.