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Mercer County Diversionary Programs Attorneys

Trenton New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Diversionary Programs

New Jersey offers three programs to help first-time offenders avoid serious penalties and a record of conviction on a criminal charge. These programs divert accused individuals from the prosecution path to a program of rehabilitation and monitoring. Those who qualify for a diversionary program are presented with an opportunity to keep their records clean by fulfilling certain conditions. If the program is completed successfully, the criminal charge will dismissed and a conviction will not appear on their record. There will, however, be a record of the arrest.

At the Davis Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys can help you determine whether you are eligible for a diversionary program and whether it makes sense in your current situation. To discuss your case, please contact our law office in Hamilton, New Jersey, for a free initial consultation.

How Diversionary Programs Work

In all three programs described below, the accused individual must plead guilty to the offense. If he or she successfully completes the conditions of the diversionary program, the case is dismissed. There will be a record of an arrest, but no conviction. Six months after the dismissal of the case, the participant can apply to have the records of the arrest and conditional discharge expunged. If the participant does not fulfill the conditions of the program, the case will proceed to prosecution. Diversionary programs are only available for those charged with certain state crimes and disorderly persons offenses.

Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI)

Instead of focusing on prosecution and punishment, New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program focuses on rehabilitation and prevention of future criminal behavior. PTI programs seek to resolve the underlying issues that may have led the individual to commit a crime.

Benefits of PTI:

  • No record of conviction if the program is completed successfully
  • Prompt resolution of the case
  • Prompt provision of rehabilitative services
  • Less expensive than traditional prosecution
  • Allows resources to be devoted to more serious criminals

PTI conditions may include:

  • Random urine testing
  • Assessments for fees, penalties and fines
  • Community service
  • Payment of restitution
  • Psychological and/or drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment program

Not everyone is eligible to participate in PTI. It is designed for New Jersey adults who are charged with low-grade crimes or penal offenses in New Jersey municipal or criminal courts. Those with prior convictions on their record are not eligible for the program.

Conditional Discharge

This program is for individuals charged for the first time with certain drug offenses in New Jersey municipal court. Most typically, the offenses involve possession of marijuana. Participants must comply with the conditions of the program. They must pass all drug tests and not get arrested again during the supervisory period. Six months after dismissal of the charge, the participant can apply for an expungement of records related to the arrest and conditional discharge.

Conditional Dismissal

Conditional Dismissal provides access to first-time offenders charged with many disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses. Like PTI, if conditions of the program are met, the charge with be dismissed and no conviction will appear on the individual’s record.

People charged with certain offenses are not eligible for conditional dismissal. These include:

  • Domestic violence
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Organized criminal or gang offenses
  • A continuing criminal business or enterprise
  • Breach of the public trust by a public officer or employee
  • Offense against an elderly, disabled or minor person
  • Animal cruelty
  • Certain drug or drug-related offenses

Is a Diversionary Program Right for You?

If you have participated in one New Jersey diversionary program, you are not eligible to participate in any other. Does it make sense for you to use your one chance now? To answer that question, you will need to consider several others, including:

  • What if you get charged with something more serious in the future?
  • How strong is the prosecution’s case against you?
  • Can your lawyer win your case at trial?

To arrange a free initial consultation about your case, please call or contact the Davis Law Firm online.

From offices in Hamilton, our criminal defense lawyers advise clients on diversionary programs throughout New Jersey.

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