Diversionary programs will allow you to avoid criminal prosecution.
The purpose of each program is to “forgive” you once for your mistake. That’s right, you don’t get two bites out of the apple.
New Jersey’s criminal code recognizes that people aren’t perfect.
If you get arrested on a first offense, you have a way to keep your record clean.
Different diversionary programs exist for different types of crimes.
To be eligible, you must be a New Jersey resident without a prior conviction.
We will discuss each program & the eligibility requirements below.
The process is simple if you don’t complicate it. What do we mean?
Well, if you get accepted into a diversionary program, make sure that you comply with all of the terms of your probation. If you violate the conditions, you will find yourself back to square one (with open charges). You complicated everything by wasting a golden opportunity. Keep it simple, comply, and move on.
It’s basically a 5 step process.
Please refer to the chart below as we go along.
Step 1 – Apply – Make sure that you complete the application & pay the filing fees. Attend your interview. Don’t blow it off!
Step 2 – Get Accepted – If you don’t get accepted, it’s either because your charges are way too serious or you have a prior record.
Step 3 – Meet All Conditions – If you are not allowed to smoke weed, by all means, do not smoke weed. You will get drug tested & if you test dirty, it’s all over. Attend all appointments with your probation officer. Pay all fines, penalties, and restitution.
Step 4 – Go To Court – At the end of your diversionary term, you need to return to court to get your charges “formally dismissed”. This means that the judge will officially & legally make a record that your charges have been dismissed.
It’s like the whole thing never happened.
***The biggest mistake you can make is never showing up to your last court appearance. Your criminal charge stays open and will appear on a background search. All of your work would be a waste.
Step 5 – Expunge The Arrest – Yes, you never got a criminal conviction, but the record of your arrest is alive and well. If a background check is run, your arrest record will pop up. The final step in the entire diversionary process is to expunge your record.
This program is available for indictable (felony) offenders with no prior criminal history. Typically lasting 6 months to 3 years, the program is an alternative to prison time and acts as a period of probation. Charges are dismissed after successful completion of the program.
If you are facing misdemeanor or disorderly persons offenses, this is the program that you would apply for.
If your misdemeanor charges will be heard in Municipal Court, you can rest assured that you’re facing “minor criminal charges”.
The Conditional Dismissal Program can typically last for one year.
If you are facing misdemeanor or disorderly persons CDS charges, this is the program that you would apply for.
If your drug charges will be heard in Municipal Court, you can rest assured that you’re facing “minor drug charges”.
This program is used the most for Marijuana Possession charges.
The Conditional Discharge Program can last from 6 months to 3 years.
As you have read, if you have been arrested & charged with a crime, there is a way out.
Diversionary programs are “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities & should not be wasted.
If you have a strong defense, you may consider fighting the charges & preserving your right to use a diversionary program down the road.
We understand that no one plans on getting arrested a second time.
But consider this: If you use your conditional discharge on a marijuana charge when you’re 20 years old, you won’t be allowed to use PTI for a more serious charge when you’re 45.
If you were the victim of an illegal search, why should you waste your get-out-of-jail-free-card?
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.
Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey complex as well as nearby cities. The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.
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.
Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.
Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities.
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.
a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.
***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.
Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.
When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.
A mere “hunch” is not enough.
In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.
b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.
c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions