Program In New Jersey
When did it go into effect? On September 6, 2013, Governor Christie signed this new law, making it effective on January 4, 2014.
Who does it apply to? It is only applicable to persons who commit a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense on or after January 4, 2014. The new law establishes a conditional dismissal program in municipal courts for eligible first time defendants charged with certain disorderly persons offenses.
What does a Conditional Dismissal do? Under this new law, a defendant who is charged with a petty disorderly persons offense or a disorderly persons offense, may apply to enter into the conditional dismissal program. Defendant will be placed under a probation monitoring status for 1 year. If defendant successful completes the program, the court will terminate the probation monitoring and dismiss the proceedings against the defendant.
What are the Conditions Required to be eligible? The defendant can not (1) have been previously convicted of any petty disorderly persons offense, disorderly persons offense or crime, and (2) has not previously participated int he conditional discharge, conditional dismissal, or PTI program.
What offenses are ineligible? Offenses involving domestic violence, driving under the influence of alcohol, drug offenses graded as disorderly persons offenses are excluded from the conditional dismissal program since those drug offenses are eligible for the conditional discharge program.
Can the prosecutor object to me entering the program? Yes. The prosecutor does not have to consent to you entering the program. The prosecutor can present information to the judge as to why you should not be admitted into the program.
What factors will the judge consider to allow me into the program? A judge will consider the (1) nature of the offense, (2) facts surrounding the crime, (3) motivation, character, age and attitude of defendant, (4) desire of complainant/victim to forego prosecution, (5) continuing pattern of antisocial behavior, (6) was offense assaultive or violent, (7) adverse effect on prosecution of co-defendants, (8) consistent with public interest, and (9) any other factors present.
Is there is fee to enter the program? There is a fee of $75. The law allows a defendant to apply for a waiver of the fee if defendant can prove he/she meets the poverty guidelines in New Jersey.
What if I get convicted of a petty disorderly persons offense, disorderly persons offense, or crime or I do not comply with the terms and conditions of the program while I am on the conditional dismissal program? The court can enter a judgment of conviction and impose a fine, penalty, or other assessment in accordance with the defendant’s prior plea of guilty or a prior finding of guilt.
If I successfully complete the conditional dismissal program, is it considered a conviction on my record? Under the law, the conditional dismissal of a disorderly persons offense is not deemed a conviction for purposes of disqualifications or disabilities, but must be reported to the State Bureau of Identification criminal history record information files for the purposes of determining future eligibility or exclusion from court diversion programs.
Will I need to have my record expunged after I complete the program? Yes. You will need to wait 6 months after you complete the program and an order is entered dismissing your matter.
How often can I get a conditional dismissal in New Jersey? A conditional dismissal can only be granted once per person.
If I had a conditional dismissal in the past, can I now apply for PTI in Superior Court? No. The law states that first time offenders can only use 1 of the 3 New Jersey diversionary programs. PTI (Pre-Trial Intervention) and conditional dismissal are both considered diversionary programs.
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