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You made a mistake and violated the law. Your first response might be a feeling of panic—facing down the possibility of jail time and a permanent criminal record can be overwhelming. Conviction, and the penalties conviction carries, is not your only option. New Jersey diversionary programs aim to keep certain first offenders out of the criminal system by offering a path to punishment that avoids formal prosecution.
Availability of diversionary program relief is by no means automatic, however. At Team Law, our defense lawyers have the knowledge and skills needed to persuade the prosecution and judge that formal conviction is not the answer in your case. We work closely with every one of our clients so that we can get a sense of your past and your goals for the future. The personal attention you receive at Team Law is one of the reasons we are able to strongly advocate on your behalf when it comes time to persuade the judge.
Do You Have Questions About New Jersey Diversionary Programs? We Can Help, Tell Us What Happened.
Not all offenders are eligible for a diversionary program. The program requirements are specific and detailed. Our lawyers offer a free initial consultation so that we can discuss whether a diversionary program might be an option for you. Our experienced defense lawyers also make sure you fully understand the consequences of admission—namely, pleading guilty to a crime.
To learn more about your eligibility and how we can make potential admission into a diversionary program a part of our overall defense strategy, contact Team Law for a free initial consultation.
The goal of a diversionary program is to “divert” your case from the criminal justice system. All diversionary programs are a type of probation that takes place without formal prosecution of your case. If you successfully complete all the terms of the program, your case will be dismissed and you will not have a criminal conviction on your record. The record of your arrest can be expunged.
New Jersey diversionary program options include:
While these options can help you reach similar results—avoiding conviction—they are all slightly different.
The goal of the pre-trial intervention (PTI) is to resolve the underlying issues that led you to commit the offense in the first place. To gain admission, you must be a first offender—meaning that you can have no other criminal convictions on your record, even if unrelated to the type of charge you are facing.
Upon admission into the PTI program, the judge may require any of the following conditions:
To be eligible for PTI, the following requirements apply:
Conditional dismissal is very similar to PTI, but is available for people who have been charged with a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense. Only those who have never before participated in a diversionary program are eligible. In addition, the following charges cannot be resolved via conditional dismissal:
Conditional discharge is different from PTI and conditional dismissal because it is only available in certain drug cases. If you are a first-time offender charged with a drug-related disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense, you may be eligible. Examples of drug-related crimes that qualify include:
If you are admitted, you will enter into a probationary period that typically lasts between one and three years. During that period, you must complete all conditions imposed by the judge—namely, random drug testing and refraining from any type of criminal activity.
Veterans who have been charged with non-violent third-degree and fourth-degree crimes are eligible for a new type of diversion program. To be eligible, you must be a veteran who suffers from some type of mental condition, like PTSD. To avoid conviction, the following must be true:
If you have been arrested, getting legal help should be your top priority. Our lawyers can help you understand all of your options, including the diversionary programs and eligibility requirements.
With any diversionary program, satisfying the terms and conditions imposed by the judge is key. One misstep can land you back in court, facing charges when you have already admitted guilt. To learn more about your options, contact Team Law today for a free initial consultation.
Yes. While there are a number of advantages you must plead guilty to the underlying criminal offenses before entering the diversionary program. If you fail to complete the program to the court’s satisfaction, you have already admitted guilt and will likely face conviction. The court has discretion to impose any number of conditions, which vary depending upon which type of program involved.
It’s important to consider the strength of the prosecution’s case against you before entering a diversionary program. In some cases, our lawyers may be more successful arguing your case before a judge and jury at trial, depending upon the prosecution’s evidence. You also have to consider whether you might face additional charges in the future. You can only participate once, meaning that if you face charges in the future, the option will be unavailable.
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Criminal Defense Information Center