What is a Conditional Discharge in NJ?
Am I Eligible for the Conditional Discharge in NJ?
If you have been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, failure to make a lawful disposition of CDS, loitering for the purpose of obtaining CDS, being under the influence of CDS or any other drug offense for that matter, you may be able to avoid not only incarceration but a criminal record as well. New Jersey has created several diversionary programs that. If a Defendant is eligible, they could be diverted from the ordinary forms of prosecution and be placed in a diversionary program. One of the most common diversionary programs in New Jersey is the conditional discharge program. This programs allows certain, low level, first time offenders, the opportunity to placed on a probationary period. If they successfully complete that probationary period, without violating any of the terms, then the charges would be dropped. This program can be a tremendous benefit to anyone that has been charged with a drug offenses in New Jersey. With that being said, this program is not available to everyone. So, to determine if you are eligible or not, please see below or contact one of our Mercer County drug possession defense attorneys today at (609)789-0779.
The attorneys at the Keith Oliver Criminal Law have a tremendous amount of experiencing representing clients accused of various different drugs offenses. They include but are not limited to the possession of marijuana under 50 grams, possession of CDS in motor vehicle, possession of prescription legend drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of cocaine, and possession of heroin. Our office has been appearing in courts throughout Mercer County, including the Hamilton Municipal Court, the Lawrence Municipal Court, the Princeton Municipal Court, the West Windsor Municipal Court, the East Windsor Municipal Court, the Trenton Municipal Court and the Robbinsville Municipal Court for almost a decade. If you would like to come into our office and have a face to face consultation with one of our criminal attorneys, then please contact us at (609)789-0779. For more information on the Conditional Discharge Program please see below.
How does the Conditional Discharge Program work in NJ?
The Conditional Discharge Program is more formally known as the Chapter 36A program. This program is governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:36A-1 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. The conditional discharge program is a diversionary program in New Jersey that Defendants who have been charged with disorderly persons (misdemeanor) level drug offenses may be able to take advantage of. If a Defendant is charged with a disorderly persons drug offense, then they may apply for the conditional discharge program during their court proceeding. If they are able to convince the prosecution and the Judge that they would be a good candidate, then they would formally be accepted into the program by the Judge. At which point in time, they will be placed on a probationary period up to one (1) year. If they successfully complete the program, without any issues and pay off all of their fines, their charges may be outright dismissed. If you would like to speak to one of our Mercer County drug possession defense lawyers today about your options then please contact us at (609)789-0779.
What Charges are Eligible for the Conditional Discharge Program?
If a Defendant has been charged with any disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) under N.J.S.A. 2C:35 (Drug Charges) or N.J.S.A. 2C:36 (Paraphernalia) then they might be eligible for the conditional discharge program. Some of the most common drug charges allowed into the conditional discharge program in Mercer County include:
- Possession of Marijuana under 50 Grams (NJSA 2C:35-10a(4));
- Failure to turn over CDS (NJSA 2C:35-10);
- Being under the Influence of CDS (NJSA 2C:35-10);
- CDS in a Motor Vehicle (NJSA 39:4-49.1);
- Loiter for the Purposes of Obtaining or Distributing CDS (NJSA 2C:33-2.1;
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (NJSA 2C:36-2)
Other charges like possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, possession of prescription legend drugs, possession of molly or possession of crystal meth may be eligible for the conditional discharge program if the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office decides to remand these charges back to the local municipal court. If that is to occur, the charges would most likely be downgraded to a wandering for the purpose to obtain CDS, failure to turn over CDS or possession of drug paraphernalia charges.
What are the fines for a Conditional Discharge Program?
Since the conditional discharge program is a diversionary program, there technically is no fine. However, there are standard fees and assessments that must be imposed. They include the following:
- Application Fee: $75
- Safe Neighborhood Assessment: $75
- Lab Fee: $50
- Law Enforcement Officer Training Assessment: $50
- Victims of Violent Crimes Assessment: $50
- Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction (DEDR): $500
- Court Costs: $33
In addition, a Defendant could be subject to a six month loss of their driving privileges as well. With that being said, if defense counsel can establish that a hardship would occur if the Defendant’s license was to be suspended, then the Judge may waive the license loss.
What happens if I violate the Conditional Discharge Program?
Since a Defendant is being diverted from the traditional forms of prosecution to be placed in the conditional discharge program, no guilty plea is required. Therefore, if a Defendant is to have violated the terms of the conditional discharge program, the original charges would be reinstated and need to be re-litigated. In addition, a Defendant will most likely be dealing with a violation of probation and even a new set of charges as well.
How can I violate the Conditional Discharge Program?
A Defendant can violate the conditional discharge program by committing any of the following acts:
- Violate the Probationary Period by:
- Testing Positive;
- Not paying the fines;
- Not showing up to probation;
Am I Eligible for the Conditional Discharge Program in NJ?
Being charged with a criminal offense can be scary. However, hiring the right attorney can go a long way to alleviating the fear. If you have been accused of a drug offense in New Jersey and would like to know if you are eligible for the conditional discharge program, please feel free to contact us at (609)789-0779. We are available around the clock to help assist in anyway that we can. Our office serves all of Mercer County, including towns like Lawrence, Hopewell, Trenton, Princeton, Robbinsville and East Windsor. So, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.