Conditional Discharge for Drug Charges
Phillipsburg Conditional Discharge Lawyers
If you have no prior criminal record and you are charged with a disorderly persons drug offense such as marijuana possession less than 50 grams or possession of drug paraphernalia in New Jersey, you may be eligible for the diversionary program known as conditional discharge. The conditional discharge program will result in dismissed drug charges if you successfully complete a probationary term. Depending on the circumstances of your case, obtaining enrollment in the conditional discharge program may be the right move to achieve dismissal of the drug or paraphernalia charges against you. Making an informed decision about whether or not to use the conditional discharge program can have an impact on the rest of your life, which is why you should discuss it with an attorney before moving forward. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at our law firm have assisted clients with conditional discharge in Hackettstown, Andover, Vernon Township, Sparta, Phillipsburg, Pohatcong, Hopatcong, Newton, and throughout Sussex and Warren County, New Jersey for years. Contact our office at 973-755-1695 for a free consultation. One of our attorneys is available to discuss your case and help you determine whether or not using a conditional discharge is the right decision.
Conditional Discharge Program in New Jersey Municipal Court
N.J.S.A. 2C:36A-1 sets forth that whenever any person who has not previously been convicted of any offense under New Jersey’s Controlled Dangerous Substance Act, or a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense defined in Chapters 35 or 36 of New Jersey’s criminal code, or 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 New Jersey’s criminal statute, the court upon notice to the prosecutor and subject to law, may on motion of the defendant 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, or after plea of guilty or finding of guilty, and without entering a judgment of conviction, and with the consent of the person after proper reference to the State Bureau of Identification criminal history record information files, place him on supervisory treatment upon reasonable terms and conditions as it may require, or as otherwise provided by law.
New Jersey’s Conditional Discharge from a Legal Perspective
According to the above statute, a person charged with a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons drug offense, who has no prior criminal record and has never used a diversionary program before, may be eligible for conditional discharge in New Jersey Municipal Court. When admitted to conditional discharge, your drug charges are suspended while you complete a period of probation during which you must comply with the program’s requirements. This may include reporting to a probation officer, submitting to random drug tests, and avoiding re-arrest for another offense. If you complete conditional discharge, the charges are dismissed entirely and you will avoid having a conviction on your criminal record. You also become eligible to expunge the underlying arrest and charges 6 months after conditional discharge ends. However, any violation of the conditions of a conditional discharge will result in the court reinstating the charge against you.
Some examples of charges that are eligible for a conditional discharge are possessing under 50 grams of marijuana, using or being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), failing to turn over drugs to law enforcement, possessing four or fewer doses of a prescription legend drug, or possessing drug paraphernalia such as a pipe, bowl, bong, rolling papers, or a syringe.
It is important to note that conditional discharge is only available once in a lifetime. That is, using conditional discharge once means you are ineligible for the conditional dismissal and pretrial intervention programs down the road in any other matters. Also, if you have been charged with an indictable drug offense, your case will be handled at the Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred. You cannot use conditional discharge to have your charges dismissed, but you may be able to use the Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI). PTI is a similar program that applies to felony drug charges in New Jersey.
Hackettstown Conditional Discharge Attorney
If you are facing drug charges and wondering if you’re potentially eligible for the conditional discharge program, you should seek counsel from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in New Jersey. The team at our law office helps clients avoid a criminal record in Municipal Courts throughout Sussex County and Warren County, including Frankford, Washington Township, Franklin Borough, Belvidere, and Stillwater. Contact our office today by calling 973-755-1695 to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer who can help you make an informed decision. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and consultations are always provided free of charge.