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Diversionary Programs For Certain Offenses

Hudson Law Firm Jan. 26, 2023

PTINew Jersey offers a range of diversionary programs for first-time offenders, including Pre-trial intervention (PTI), Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal. PTI involves a program of supervision administered by the state, while Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal involve a period of supervision and meeting certain conditions. These programs are designed to rehabilitate offenders and divert them from the court and prison system.

There are several different levels of criminal charges in New Jersey, including first, second, third, and fourth degree crimes. First degree crimes, such as murder and rape, are the most serious and carry a sentence of 10-20 years in prison. Second degree crimes, such as aggravated arson and burglary, carry a sentence of 5-10 years in prison. Third degree crimes, such as aggravated assault and certain drug crimes, carry a sentence of 1-5 years in prison. Fourth degree crimes, such as certain sexual crimes and certain drug crimes, carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison. Additionally, there are two levels of disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey – disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses – which are typically heard in municipal court and carry a sentence of up to 6 months in prison.

Pretrial Intervention Program

PTI in New Jersey is a diversionary program that offers certain criminal offenders an alternative to incarceration. It is designed to rehabilitate first time offenders and provide them with an alternative to traditional prosecution. Eligibility for the program is determined by a variety of factors, including the nature of the crime, the facts of the case, the offender's age and motivation, the desire of the victim, and the offender's criminal record. If accepted into the program, the offender may be subject to certain conditions, such as a period of probation and/or completion of certain rehabilitation services. Upon successful completion of the program, the charges against the offender may be dismissed and/or the offender may be re-sentenced to a lesser sentence.

Disqualifying offenses which would normally disqualify an individual from being accepted include violent crimes such as murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, and sexual assault, as well as other serious offenses like burglary, drug trafficking, weapons possession, and certain white collar crimes. Additionally, individuals who have previously received or applied for a conditional discharge are also disqualified from PTI.

Conditional Discharge

Conditional discharge is a diversionary program designed specifically for marijuana and minor drug offense handled in Municipal Court. These offenses can include possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and certain prescription drug charges, such as possession of a controlled dangerous substance without a valid prescription. Eligible individuals who are accepted into the program must enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charge, and then complete the terms and conditions of the supervisory treatment. Upon completion of the terms and conditions of the supervisory treatment, the treatment is terminated and the proceedings against the defendant are dismissed. This means no criminal record, no jail term, no license loss and no community service.

Conditional Dismissal

A Conditional Dismissal is a type of diversionary program available in New Jersey for first-time offenders who have been charged with a non-drug-related disorderly persons offense. The program allows the offender to avoid prosecution and maintain an untarnished criminal record. Eligibility for the program requires that the defendant have not been previously convicted of any petty disorderly persons offense, disorderly persons offense or crime, nor have they previously participated in any conditional discharge, supervisory treatment, or conditional dismissal under the law. The defendant must also pay an application fee of $75, as well as any restitution, costs, and other mandatory assessments that would have been imposed for a conviction of the offense charged. Additionally, the judge may impose an assessment, based on the nature of the offense and the character of the defendant.