If you are facing drug charges in New Jersey, the best defense strategy will depend on a number of factors. What are the specific charges you are facing? Is this your first offense? Did law enforcement make any procedural errors? These are just a few of the questions your attorney will ask when building your defense.
If you have no prior criminal record, you may be eligible for Conditional Discharge or Pretrial Intervention (PTI). If you successfully complete either program, your charges will be dismissed.
What Is the Conditional Discharge Program?
The program is for drug cases handled in Municipal Court. To enroll in the Conditional Discharge Program, this must be your first time using a diversionary program, and your drug offense must be minor. Also, you must have no prior criminal record.
Once enrolled in Conditional Discharge, you will have to stay arrest-free for 6 months or 1 year and pass random drug tests. Your charges will be dismissed upon completion of the program.
What Is the Pretrial Intervention Program?
PTI is similar to Conditional Discharge, but it applies to drug cases handled in Superior Court. To be eligible for PTI, this must be your first offense, you must have no criminal conviction, and you must have been charged with a third- or fourth-degree crime. You will not be eligible for PTI if you have used a diversionary program before. To complete PTI and have your charges dismissed, you must comply with the conditions for a probationary period of 1 to 3 years.
Will I Have a Conviction on My Criminal Record After Completing Conditional Discharge or PTI?
No, you will not have a conviction on your criminal record if you successfully complete these programs; however, the arrest will still be there. It may be possible to remove the arrest record through expungement. You can start expungement proceedings 6 months after completing the program. If the arrest is expunged, you can legally say “no” when asked if you have been arrested or charged with a crime on any application.
What If I Am Not Eligible for PTI or Conditional Discharge?
Even if you are not eligible for a diversionary program, there may be other defenses that apply to your case. For instance, the police may have made a procedural error that makes certain evidence inadmissible in court. Depending on the circumstances, there could be a defense that leads to reduced charges, lesser penalties, or the outright dismissal of the charges.
Speak with a Drug Crime Lawyer in Morristown
Joseph A. Scura is a trial attorney in New Jersey who has many years of experience and a track record of success in drug crime cases. He was named among the “Top 40 Under 40” by National Trial Lawyers and the American Society of Legal Advocates.
Joseph can investigate your arrest and build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances. Call 973-832-0841 or send us a message to schedule a consultation.