Conditional Discharge for Drug Charges in New Jersey
Edison Conditional Discharge Attorneys
Have you been arrested on a drug charge for the first time? If so, you may have heard about Conditional Discharge. Giving individuals who have their first brush with the law for a minor offense a second chance is a common theme in New Jersey’s criminal justice system. In furtherance of that goal, New Jersey offers a diversionary program for first time drug offenders in Municipal Court called conditional discharge. The program is only available to individuals charged with drug-related disorderly persons offenses such as marijuana possession under 50 grams, whose cases will be heard in Municipal Court. If you are eligible and accepted into conditional discharge, your charges will be dismissed and there will be no record of a conviction on your record after you successfully complete a period of probation, during which you must abide by the terms and conditions of your discharge. If you have been charged with a disorderly persons drug offense and are wondering if you may be eligible for the conditional discharge program, contact the experienced Middlesex County criminal defense lawyers at our firm today. With years of experiencing assisting clients charged with drugs in New Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Monroe Township, and throughout New Jersey, our attorneys know what it takes to deliver the best possible result. We can help you to determine your eligibility for conditional discharge, whether this is the best route to achieve a dismissal, and most importantly advocate aggressively before the court on your behalf. Contact our Edison office at (732) 659-9600 to speak with an attorney in a free consultation.
Qualifying for the Conditional Discharge Program in New Brunswick
To qualify for New Jersey’s conditional discharge program, the pending charge against you must be your first criminal offense in New Jersey or any other state. Only disorderly persons offense charges in municipal court are eligible for conditional discharge. These charges most commonly include possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. If you have ever used the conditional discharge, conditional dismissal, or Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) programs before, then you will not be eligible to participate in the conditional discharge program. In addition, you will only be granted conditional discharge if the court determines that you are not a danger to the community.
What types of conditions will be placed on me?
If you are granted conditional discharge, some of the conditions during your probationary period may include participation in a drug rehabilitation program, random drug testing, maintaining employment or enrollment in school or a vocational program, suspension of your driver’s license, reporting to a probation officer at regularly scheduled times, and not committing any other offenses.
Will my license definitely be suspended?
Whether your driver’s license will be suspended if you participate in the conditional discharge program depends on if the prosecutor requires you to enter a guilty plea before participating in the program. If they require you to enter a guilty plea first and you do not successfully complete your probation period by violating the terms of your conditional discharge, the prosecution is not required to re-prosecute your case and the court can issue a sentence immediately. If this happens, you will be subject to mandatory license suspension for 6 months to 2 years.
More commonly, the prosecutor will not require you to enter a guilty plea in order to participate in the conditional discharge program. In this situation, you are not subject to mandatory license suspension, although it could be set as a condition of your probation for a period of time. We typically work to help our clients avoid license suspension during conditional discharge.
What if I violate conditional discharge?
First, you will have an opportunity to defend yourself against allegations that you violated the terms of your conditional discharge. If you are found to have violated one or more of the conditions of your conditional discharge, your participation in the program may be terminated. If this happens, the next step depends on whether or not you have already entered a guilty plea before beginning the program. If you already entered a guilty plea, your case may move to the sentencing stage immediately, after a judge determines that you did in fact violate the terms of your conditional discharge. If you did not already enter a guilty plea, the prosecutor may reinstate the original charges against you. Alternative outcomes of violating the terms of your conditional discharge include extending the length of your probation period, changing or adding to the conditions of your discharge, or allowing you to continue in the program with the existing conditions. You are entitled to have an attorney representing you during these proceedings, so it is very important to exercise this right if you want to avoid serious consequences.
Piscataway NJ Conditional Discharge Lawyer
For more information about the New Jersey Conditional Discharge Program, contact The Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver today at (732) 659-9600. An experienced criminal defense attorney is available immediately to assist you. We can answer questions about your potential eligibility for conditional discharge for a first-time drug offense in Municipal Court.