How a Conditional Discharge for a Drug Offense Works:

In New Jersey, a first-time offender has different options to avoid conviction and a permanent criminal record.  New Jersey offers several diversionary programs relating to certain enumerated criminal charges. The first, and most well known, with regard to indictable criminal charges, is known as Pre-Trial Intervention. This program is conducted on the county level and deals with more severe criminal charges. A defendant must apply and be accepted into the “PTI” program with the consent of the county prosecutor’s office.

The second type of program offered to first offenders in New Jersey is known as a conditional discharge. This type of diversion is limited to certain minor offenses which are disposed of on the Municipal level. typically this one-time “get out of jail free” program is used by those charged with marijuana possession. The Court will place you on probation (for typically one year) and at the end of this period your charge is dismissed. This prevents a permanent criminal charge on your record. To determine whether or not this is the best option for your case, contact one of the Moriartys today at 732-842-7773 to discuss your situation.

New Jersey Conditional Discharge Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:36A

2C:36A-1. Conditional discharge for certain first offenses; expunging of records

a. Whenever any person who has not previously been convicted of any offense under section 20 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-20), or a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense defined in chapter 35 or 36 of this title or, subsequent to the effective date of this title, under any law of the United States, this State or any other state relating to marijuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drugs, is charged with or convicted of any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under chapter 35 or 36 of this title, the court upon notice to the prosecutor and subject to subsection c. of this section, may on motion of the defendant or the court:

(1) Suspend further proceedings and with the consent of the person after reference to the State Bureau of Identification criminal history record information files, place him under supervisory treatment upon such reasonable terms and conditions as it may require.

Why Should You Use a Conditional Discharge?

A conditional discharge is not always the right fit for every first-time offender. A determination must be made that you are in fact eligible for a conditional discharge. Something else to consider is that one can only use a conditional discharge or PTI once.  This is an important consideration to make.  A competent attorney should be consulted to make sure before using a Conditional Discharge that the case cannot be won during a trial. For example, did the police conduct a valid search which resulted in the discovery of the drugs? If the search was not valid, a dismissal can be obtained and a conditional discharge is not necessary. Contact one of the Moriartys today at 732-842-7773 to determine if a conditional discharge is right for you.

We Handle All Types of Criminal Charges

Criminal charges can be brought in either the Municipal or Superior court. The more severe the criminal charges the more likely they are to be handled in Superior Court, while minor charges are typically resolved in Municipal Court. We have a well deserved reputation for being the best in both arenas.

The severity of your charges is a determination made by the State and is usually based on a variety of factors. Penalties will vary based on the degree of the crime and whether or not there was a criminal conspiracy involved.

Call 732-842-7773 to speak with one of the Moriartys 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your charges or you can contact us by e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation.