Trenton Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal Lawyer
Experienced Defense Lawyers Help Clients with Admission to Municipal Court Supervisory Programs Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal in Mercer County and Throughout New Jersey
If you are convicted of a crime in New Jersey, it could be a mistake that follows you for the rest of your life. Not only is there a social and economic impact, but many people also face a variety of other serious consequences such as prison time and large fines. The good news is, New Jersey offers several diversionary programs that seek to help first-time offenders avoid prosecution and conviction.
If you or a loved one has ever been charged with a crime, you may be familiar with two programs known as Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal. These programs can be extremely helpful to you if you are facing a series of severe penalties that could have a huge impact on your life.
Admission into these programs is not automatic. You need a strong legal advocate by your side to convince the judge that conditional discharge or conditional dismissal is more appropriate than conviction. At Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC, our experienced criminal defense lawyers have helped many clients gain admission into diversionary programs over the years. We know how the prosecution works and how to counter any objections to your admission.
The attorneys at KMHL&D are here to explain the conditional discharge and conditional dismissal programs to you and discuss possible options for resolving your case. To learn more about eligibility and the conditions imposed by these programs, contact our Trenton Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal Lawyers to request a consultation today.
What Is the Conditional Discharge Program?
The conditional discharge program is one of several diversionary programs offered to help first-time offenders facing minor drug charges avoid the traditional criminal judicial process. The conditional discharge program allows participants who complete the programs to avoid having a criminal conviction on their record.
Eligible drug charges are dismissed upon completion of the program. Records in connection with the underlying arrest are eligible for expungement after six months from the date the charges are dismissed.
The precise terms of Conditional Discharge will vary, but commonly include drug testing and the payment of fees and assessments. Successful completion of the conditional discharge program may require:
- Random drug and alcohol screening,
- Mental health counseling,
- Mandatory drug and/or alcohol counseling,
- Remaining arrest-free for the entire probationary period,
- Payment of court fees, restitution, and other costs,
- Loss of your driver’s license for a minimum of six months and up to two years.
What Is the Conditional Dismissal Program?
Conditional Dismissal is different from Conditional Discharge in that it applies to disorderly conduct crimes, while Conditional Discharge only applies to low-level drug crimes. If you have been charged with a low-level misdemeanor such as disorderly conduct, you might have the option of a dismissal.
Some examples of charges that are eligible for the program include:
- Disorderly conduct
- Simple assault
- Criminal mischief
If accepted into the conditional dismissal program, you will plead guilty to the underlying offense. This is important because if you violate the terms imposed by the court during your probationary period, you will immediately be subject to sentencing for the crime because your guilt has already been established. However, after successfully serving a term of probation and completing all judicially-imposed requirements, the charges will be dismissed. Those requirements can vary, but generally may include:
- Supervised probation
- Drug and alcohol counseling
- Anger management courses
- Community service
- The requirement that you refrain from engaging in any further criminal activity
- Payment of certain fines, including an application fee
Additionally, records in connection with the underlying arrest are eligible for expungement after six months from the date the charges are dismissed.
Conditional Dismissal Program Eligibility
Generally, to qualify for participation in the conditional dismissal program, you must satisfy the following initial criteria:
- You have no prior criminal convictions
- Your charge was a non-drug-related disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense
- You have never before been accepted into any diversionary program, including conditional dismissal, conditional discharge, or pre-trial intervention (PTI)
- Your specific charge must be eligible for the conditional dismissal program
- The offense must have been committed on or after January 4, 2014
The following charges render you ineligible for admission into the conditional dismissal program:
- DWI/DUI-related offenses,
- Some domestic violence charges,
- Charges related to organized gang activity,
- Crimes against the elderly, disabled, or a minor,
- Charges for animal cruelty,
- Charges related to ongoing criminal or business enterprises,
- Crimes alleged against a public figure related to breach of public trust.
Factors the Courts Consider When Granting Admission to Conditional Dismissal or Conditional Discharge Programs
Admission into the conditional dismissal or conditional discharge programs is never automatic. In some cases, the prosecution will recommend admission. Usually, your defense lawyer will advocate for admission to the program and negotiate with the prosecution to convince them that a diversionary program is more appropriate than prosecution. Factors that the courts will consider when deciding whether to grant admission include:
- The nature and circumstances of the offense
- Your age and general character
- Any relevant motivation for committing the crime
- The interest of the public and community
- Whether the offense was part of a pattern of behavior or an isolated incident
- Whether the offense was in any way violent, or whether the consequences could have resulted in injury
- Whether admission into a diversionary program will adversely impact the prosecution of any co-defendants
- The victim’s desire to avoid prosecution
- Any other factors the court deems relevant
Judges have leeway when deciding whether to allow admission into a diversionary program. They also have leeway in determining the requirements you will have to satisfy in order to successfully complete the program.
At Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC, our lawyers can negotiate with the prosecution to secure their recommendation prior to applying for admission to a diversionary program. We put in the work necessary to build the strongest possible case for admission if conditional dismissal or conditional discharge is in your best interests. To learn more about our practice, contact us today for a consultation.
Contact the Skilled Lawyers at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC to Learn More About NJ Conditional Dismissal and Conditional Discharge Programs
If you have questions about the conditional dismissal or conditional discharge programs in New Jersey, contact the experienced lawyers at KMHL&D for a free initial consultation.
Our lawyers are here to discuss your eligibility for the program and make sure you understand every aspect of how completing a diversionary program can impact your future. Let us answer your questions and put your mind at ease!
Frequently Asked Questions About Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal in New Jersey
No. In fact, the opposite is true. In order to gain admission into the conditional discharge or conditional dismissal programs, you must first plead guilty to the crime. Successful completion of the program means that you will not have a conviction on your record. However, if you do not successfully complete the program, you can be prosecuted for a crime to which you have already pleaded guilty.
The nature of the offense. The conditional discharge program is designed for drug-related crimes committed by certain first offenders. Conditional dismissal is the diversionary program open to a wider range of relatively minor offenses.