A Conditional Discharge is a way for you to avoid getting a criminal conviction.
This program is designed for CDS cases.
If you have a clean record & have been arrested for a minor drug offense, you may be eligible for this program.
Before we get into it, please know that there is another program in New Jersey called the Conditional Dismissal Program.
The “dismissal” program is for non-drug related charges.
Now that we’ve cleared this up, let’s break it down.
To be eligible for the Conditional Discharge program, you need to have a clean record. This means that you have no prior convictions. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been arrested. You just can’t have any convictions.
Next, you must never have received any other type of probation.
Even if you used a probationary program in another state, you will not be eligible for this program.
Let’s say that you’ve been arrested for misdemeanor Marijuana Possession.
Typically, these cases are treated as misdemeanors (disorderly persons offenses) and tried in New Jersey Municipal Courts.
If you have a clean record & the case against is strong, you may choose to go into the Conditional Discharge program.
The reason for doing this is to keep your record clean.
This diversionary program is a quick fix to putting an end to the whole nightmare.
However, just like the name of the program suggests, there are certain “conditions” that you have to fulfill.
The chart below provides an overview of the conditional dismissal process.
If you were arrested for a lot of “weight”, this program will not work.
Drug distribution charges are indictable offenses (felony charges) in New Jersey and fall outside the conditional discharge program.
Through the plea bargaining process a good criminal defense attorney can get a 4th-degree drug possession amended to a misdemeanor.
If this happens, your case will be out of “felony danger” and your matter will be sent to the lower municipal court.
If you were subject to an illegal search, you may be able to get your drug charges dismissed. All CDS charges should be challenged on Constitutional grounds. If you are not eligible for a conditional discharge, these are your options:
You will have to admit what you did under oath. This option will leave you with a criminal conviction. It will stay on your record for 5 years before it can be expunged. And it will show up a background check.
Plead Guilty to a Downgraded Charge
This is one aspect of plea bargaining. Instead of admitting that you were in possession of CDS, we will work out a deal with the prosecutor where you plea guilty to a lesser offense.
Go To Trial & Get Acquitted
This means that the Municipal court judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you are not guilty of CDS possession.
Go To Trial & Get Convicted
This means that the judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you are guilty of CDS possession.
The whole purpose of the Conditional Discharge program is for you to “avoid getting a conviction”.
If you get into the program after you plead guilty or are found guilty, you will not get a conviction on your record.
Of course, you have to pay all fines and comply with the conditions of your program.
For example, you can not get another arrest or conviction during your probationary term.
In addition, you cannot fail any drug tests. If you do, you will be kicked out of the program.
The program can last from 6 months to 3 years.
Assuming that you’ve complied with all conditions, your case will be dismissed at the end of your probationary.
If you cannot complete this program, you will get a conviction on your record.
When an employer performs a background check, your disorderly person arrest & criminal record will appear.
If you are convicted of a new offense or violate any term and condition imposed by the court, the judge can enter a judgment of conviction against you.
In other words, you wasted your one and only opportunity to keep your record clean.
When our clients are struggling to successfully complete this program, we do everything we can to reapply them into the program.
It’s not easy, but we file a motion with the court requesting a second chance.
If you are not a United States citizen and have heard about the Conditional Discharge program, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney.
We offer immigration services at our firm.
The problem for Non-U.S. Citizens is that your “guilty plea” may serve as the basis for your deportation.
It does not matter that the case will ultimately be dismissed.
Just call us and we will help you.
Before you decide to take the conditional discharge program, meet with us to see if your case is strong.
You may a very strong case that we can get dismissed so that you never have to apply for the conditional discharge program.
You will also save a lot of money on court costs & probation fees.
Lastly, if we win your case, then you do not have to worry about getting drug tested and violating your probation.
Give us a call, we’re here to help.
You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.
Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.
If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.
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There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.
The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.
We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars.
When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.