One of the most common statements we hear from potential new clients is “Am I really facing jail time” … “But it is my first offense” … “Isn’t there some program I can take advantage of”. In short, yes there maybe but that will depend on many different factors. Some of those factors include:
- The crime in question;
- The degree of the crime (i.e. Felony? 1st Degree? 2nd Degree? 3rd Degree?)
- Nature of the crime (i.e. Domestic Violence? Drugs? Assault?)
- Prior criminal history, if any;
- This includes out of state crimes as well.
Potential Diversionary Programs in New Jersey
New Jersey’s two most frequently used diversionary programs include the Pretrial Intervention Program and the Conditional Discharge Program. Although these two programs are similar certain ways, they are very distinct in others. These programs can have significant advantages for certain clients. Both programs could help an individual not only avoid incarceration but could also help someone avoid a permanent criminal record. If you have been charged with a crime like possession of marijuana, aggravated assault, shoplifting, heroin possession, eluding or burglary in Mercer County and would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your ability to gain admission into a diversionary program, then please contact our Hamilton office at 609-789-0779. One of our Mercer County criminal defense lawyers would be glad to go over the specifics of your case and formulate a game plan that works best to suit your needs. So if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
How to Get Pretrial Intervention Program in Mercer County?
Pretrial Intervention, also known as PTI, is a diversionary program in New Jersey that allows for certain individuals to bypass the traditional methods of prosecution and enter in a probationary period, whereby if they complete the program, without violating any of the terms, the charges will be dropped. First and foremost, in order to apply for this program, the individual must be charged with either a second, third or fourth degree indictable (felony) offense that occurred within Mercer County. So, an individual charge with a disorderly persons offense like possession of marijuana under 50 grams or simple assault would not be eligible to take advantage of that program. The individuals application will be reviewed and a multitude of factors will be weighed by both the criminal division and the prosecutor to determine whether or not the individual is a viable candidate for the program. If the individual is ultimately denied, they will have the ability to file an appeal. Some of the main factors that will be weighed include but are not limited to the following:
- Defendant’s Criminal History;
- Nature and Circumstances of the Offense;
- Victim’s position, if applicable;
- Underlying Facts of the Case;
- The Age and Motivation of the Defendant;
- The Defendant’s Propensity Towards Violence.
Although a prior criminal history could significantly affects someone’s ability to enter into the Pretrial Intervention Program, it is not an absolute bar like some of the other diversionary programs in New Jersey. With that being said, anyone who has already participated in a diversionary program (i.e. Conditional Discharge) will be barred from gaining entry into PTI. This is a once a lifetime program.
Some of the most common crimes whereby a Defendant will gain entry in the PTI program include but are not limited to the following:
- Aggravated Assault;
- Theft by Deception;
- Credit Card Theft;
- Heroin Possession;
- Marijuana Distribution;
Am I Eligible for Conditional Discharge in West Windsor NJ?
Conditional Discharge Program, often referred to as a “CD” is a diversionary program that is made available to certain individuals who have been charged with specific drug offenses. Although this program is available for indictable offenses, it is predominantly used in Municipal Courts. Just like the PTI program, the conditional discharge program allows for certain individuals to avoid the traditional methods of prosecution and enter in a probationary period (usually one year), whereby if they complete the program without violating any of the terms (i.e. random drug tests, arrest free), the charges will be dropped. In order to gain entry into the program, the individual must be charged with a drug possession or drug paraphernalia charge (i.e. N.J.S.A. 2C:35 or N.J.S.A. 2C:36) and must have never been convicted of a drug offense or previously entered into a diversionary program. Entry into this program would bar an individual from seeking admission into the PTI program or any other diversionary program for that matter. Some of the most common offenses whereby someone who be able to gain entry into the CD program include the following:
- Possession of Marijuana;
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
- Failure to Turn Over a Controlled Dangerous Substance;
- Loitering for the Purposes of Obtaining a Controlled Dangerous Substance
Criminal Lawyers in Mercer County NJ
Being charged with a crime can be absolutely terrifying. If you have unfortunately found yourself in this situation and would like to discuss your options with one of our criminal defense attorneys, then please contact our office at 609-789-0779 or you can contact us online. We serve all of Mercer County, including towns like West Windsor, East Windsor, Hamilton, Trenton, Robbinsville, Ewing, Lawrenceville, Princeton and Hopewell.