New Jersey Diversionary Programs
Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Advocates for Application of Diversionary Programs as an Alternative to Formal Prosecution in Camden County and Across New Jersey
Everyone makes mistakes, and not every person who commits a crime for the first time deserves to face the often-harsh penalties imposed by the New Jersey criminal justice system. The New Jersey justice system recognizes this, and thus has developed several different programs—referred to as “diversionary programs”—designed to divert eligible individuals away from prosecution at the criminal level into a program focused more strongly on rehabilitation. Participation in a diversionary program can help eligible individuals avoid the long-term consequences of a formal criminal record, which can impact their ability to find jobs, housing, educational opportunities and even obtain government assistance.
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Despite the availability of diversionary programs under New Jersey law, diversion into these programs in lieu of formal adjudication is not automatic even if you satisfy all of the criteria. You need a skilled legal advocate on your side to negotiate with the prosecution and the courts on your behalf in order to gain admission to a diversionary program and avoid prosecution. If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense for the first time and would like to learn more about the benefits of New Jersey’s diversionary programs, call us today so that we can begin building your case.
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Types of Diversionary Programs Available in New Jersey
Diversionary programs in New Jersey essentially substitute a period of probation for criminal prosecution. Upon successful completion of the relevant program, the charges against you will be dropped and you will face no further prosecution. Under current law, three primary forms of diversionary programs exist for adults who have been accused of crimes in New Jersey. They include:
- Pre-trial intervention (PTI). PTI may be available to those accused of committing indictable offenses (felonies) and who have no prior criminal history (and who have not previously completed a conditional discharge program). PTI involves a probationary period of between six months to three years, depending upon the circumstances of the crime.
- Conditional discharge. Conditional discharge may be available if the crime alleged is a drug-related offense that is charged as a disorderly persons offense. The participant must have no prior drug-related criminal past, and also cannot have participated in a diversionary program in the past. Conditional discharge typically imposes a probationary period of between six months to three years.
- Conditional dismissal. Conditional dismissal is a relatively new program that allows individuals charged with certain disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses (i.e., disorderly persons-level crimes) to complete probationary program lasting between one and two years in order to avoid formal prosecution.
Reputable Criminal Defense Lawyer David Gelman Dedicated to Exploring the Benefits of New Jersey Diversionary Programs for Eligible Clients
Facing prosecution for a criminal offense can be a terrifying and stressful experience, especially if you have never before been accused of committing a crime. The benefits of diversionary programs in New Jersey are numerous for first-time offenders. In addition to avoiding a permanent criminal record of your conviction, the programs offer:
- Rehabilitative care that is tailored to the specifics of the offense you committed, whether in the form of drug and alcohol counseling or mental health counseling,
- Swift resolution of your case without the need for protracted uncertainty,
- Peace of mind and a sense of control—as long as you complete all required elements of the program, your charges will be dismissed,
- A less expensive alternative to a formal trial in many cases.
Eligibility to participate in one of New Jersey’s diversionary programs will depend upon a number of factors, including:
- The type of crime will dictate eligibility into any given program,
- If you have prior convictions, you will be ineligible,
- If you have successfully completed a diversionary program in the past, you are ineligible to participate a second time even if it was a different program.
Importantly, when evaluating whether participation in a diversionary program is the right choice for you, we must first examine the strength of the prosecution’s case and the available evidence. If we have a strong case and it seems likely that you will be acquitted or the prosecution will drop the charges, immediate diversion into one of these programs may not be the best course of action because once you have participated, you will never be eligible again. Our skilled lawyer will conduct a full review of your case and discuss all the available options, as well as their benefits and risks.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation to Discuss Whether a Diversionary Program May be Available in Your Burlington County Case
A diversionary program can spell the difference between walking away with a clean slate or being forced to disclose your criminal record at every turn in the road for a period that can last years. Our skilled criminal defense lawyer believes that these programs can work in a wide array of circumstances and are dedicated to advocating for rehabilitation over punishment alone. If you would like to explore the possibility of entering a diversionary program, call or contact our office so that we can begin forming the strongest possible case for your admission today.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Diversionary Programs Eligibility
The first step in the process is that you must plead guilty to the offense charged. Despite this, upon completion, there will be no formal record of prosecution or conviction. While the record of your arrest will remain, it can be expunged six months after your charges have been dismissed. Our lawyer will handle the paperwork required to apply for admission to a diversionary program, and we can also handle the eventual expungement of your arrest once you have successfully completed the program.
The conditions imposed may be specific to the crime involved. Common conditions include random drug and alcohol testing, substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, community service, payment of restitution, fees and other court fines. You will, of course, also be required to refrain from engaging in any form of criminal activity in order to successfully complete the program.