Fort Lee NJ Conditional Discharge Program: N.J.S.A. 2C:36A-1
The New Jersey legislatures have created a diversionary program known as the Conditional Discharge Program for certain minor possession of a controlled dangerous substances (“CDS”) offenses. If the defendant is eligible and accepted into this program it will afford them the opportunity to walk away from their pending charges without a criminal record. A permanent criminal record can lead to several collateral consequences that most do not think of, such as inability to obtain employment, unable to attend your dream college and forfeiture of certain professional licenses. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has been successfully getting individuals into the Conditional Discharge Program throughout Bergen County, in towns like Ramsey, Englewood, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Garfield, Paramus, Tenafly, Bogota and East Rutherford for over fifteen years. Here is some important information with regards to the conditional discharge program, including the criteria for determining who is eligible.
Eligibility for the Conditional Discharge Program
Types of Charges: A defendant must be charged with either a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons drug offense to be eligible for this program. This includes, but is not limited to, possession of marijuana under 50 grams, drug paraphenalia, failure to turn over CDS and loitering in a known drug area. This program is NOT available for anyone charged with an indictable offense (felony), however, they may be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
No Prior Drug Offenses: The defendant can not have been previously convicted of any criminal drug offense, whether it be in the this state or any other state for that matter. Further, the defendant can not have previously been accepted into a diverisonary program before (out of state diversionary programs do count).
Bergen County NJ Conditional Discharge Program Lawyer
Benefits of the Conditional Discharge Program
As stated above, if the defendant is afforded the opportunity to participate in the conditional discharge program they will be eligible to walk away from this “arrest” without a criminal record. If accepted, the judge will impose a probationary term, usually one year, in which the defendant must follow certain guidelines. They are as follows, remain arrest free, conviction free, do not test positive for any controlled dangerous substances, report to your probation officer as required and pay all fines imposed. So long as the program is completed without any issues (violations) the defendants charges will automatically be dismissed. With that being said, it is important to note here that the “arrest” will remain on the defendants criminal record until it is expunged. The defendant will be eligible to have his/her arrest record expunged six months after completing the conditional discharge program.
This program was created to give first time, low level offenders, the opportunity to prove to the judicial system that this offense was truly an aberration and something that will not occur again. If the defendant violates any of the conditions imposed by the judge they will be forced to re-defend not only the original charges but also on whatever new charges were filed as a result of their violation.
Powerful Bergen County Criminal Defense Firm
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has over 100 years of combined experience on staff. Our staff is comprised of eight criminal defense attorneys, making our firm one of the largest criminal defense firms in the state, let alone Bergen County. If you or someone you know has been charged with any minor drug charges it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately as your future is at stake. If you have any further questions with regards to this program or anything else for that matter please contact any one of our Bergen County Offices for a free initial consultation.