Do I Have Any Options if this is My First Drug Offense?
Yes, in New Jersey, there are diversionary programs for people who have never been charged with drug-related offenses. Depending on the nature of the drug charge, and if this is your first drug offense, there may be options other than having a criminal conviction.
A diversionary program allows someone charged with a drug offense for the first time to avoid a criminal conviction.
Two Types of Diversionary Programs
Conditional Discharge (N.J.S.A. 2C:36A)
New Jersey offers a Conditional Discharge Program for first-time offenders charged with or convicted of a drug or drug paraphernalia-related disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense. Under this program, the court may suspend further proceedings, and with the consent of the defendant, place him or her under supervisory treatment with reasonable terms and conditions. The term of supervisory treatment may not exceed three years.
Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of supervisory treatment, the proceedings against the defendant are dismissed and will not be deemed a conviction. Defendants are only allowed one conditional discharge and are not eligible for the program if they have previously participated in PTI or another diversionary program.
Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12 and R.3:28-1 et seq.)
The Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with an alternative to prosecution. With the consent of the prosecutor and the court, PTI seeks to render early rehabilitative services to deter future criminal behavior. A guilty plea may now be imposed in some cases as a condition of the prosecutor's consent to enrollment. Supervision under the PTI program can be for as long as thirty-six months.
If a defendant successfully completes the conditions of PTI, the original charges are dismissed and there is no record of conviction. If a defendant does not successfully complete the conditions of
PTI, the defendant is terminated from the PTI program and the case is returned to the trial list. Defendants may only be admitted into PTI once, and they are not eligible for the program if they have previously participated in the Conditional Discharge or Conditional Dismissal Programs.
Call the Law Offices of David L. Pine today! He can be reached at (973) 427-7444.