For those individuals who have already had some sort of involvement with the New Jersey criminal justice system, through their own conduct or the conduct of a loved one, the concept of a conditional discharge may not be all that foreign. Simply put, a conditional discharge provides defendants charged with disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses involving controlled dangerous substances or drug paraphernalia in New Jersey a diversion from the criminal process. Generally, a conditional discharge is only available to those individuals who have not been convicted of any offenses under the Controlled Dangerous Substances Act or another similar statute. Most importantly, a successfully completed conditional discharge will not act as a conviction for the defendant. Conditional discharges are available to a range of defendants in New Jersey and you should consult with an attorney to determine if you or a loved one qualify for the diversionary program known as a conditional discharge.
The law firm Proetta & Oliver is a criminal defense firm that handles drug possession and drug distribution cases throughout New Jersey, including Burlington County. If you or someone in your family are facing charges, please contact our office immediately by calling 609-850-8284.
What is a Conditional Discharge in NJ?
As previously mentioned, a conditional discharge is a type of diversionary program offered in New Jersey to individuals charged with disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses involving controlled dangerous substances or drug paraphernalia. What makes this such an attractive prospect for a majority of defendants is that a conditional discharge does NOT carry a conviction. This is because the imposition of supervisory treatment under this Act is not deemed a conviction, for purposes of determining whether defendant has committed a second or subsequent offense, in order to authorize a greater penalty for a subsequent offense.
It is important to remember that a conditional discharge is only available to individuals who have not been previously convicted of any offense under the Controlled Dangerous Substance Act or other similar Codes or Statutes. However, in State v. Teitelbaum, 160 N.J.Super. 430 (Law Div. 1978), the court held that a prior juvenile offense involving a controlled dangerous substance violation will not disqualify the defendant from consideration for the conditional discharge.
Requirements for a Conditional Discharge in Burlington Township NJ
Just because a defendant is eligible for a conditional discharge, the Court may still deny the defendant the opportunity to enter the diversionary program. The court will consider the following conditions in making a determination of whether or not it will allow a conditional discharge:
Danger Defendant Presents to the Community
Whether the Terms of Supervision are Adequate to Protect the Public
No Prior Supervisory Treatment by Defendant
What Happens if I Violate the Terms of My Conditional Discharge?
Generally, the idea of a conditional discharge is that the defendant will undergo supervisory treatment and comply with certain conditions as a part of their diversionary program. The original charges are not necessarily dropped, but rather suspended. Therefore, if the defendant violates a term or condition of the supervisory treatment program, the suspension of the proceedings must be terminated, and the criminal proceedings must resume at the point where they were suspended.
Completion of a Conditional Discharge Program in Cinnaminson
Upon completion of the terms and conditions of the supervisory treatment, the treatment is terminated and the proceedings against the defendant are dismissed.
What are the Repercussions of a Conditional Discharge in NJ?
Typically, the court will impose court a fee of seventy-five ($75) dollars for the cost of juror compensation, as well as a mandatory drug enforcement penalty of five hundred ($500) dollars. Beyond purely fiscal penalties, if a person is granted conditional discharge after a plea of guilty or a finding of guilt, the court as a condition of the supervisory treatment must suspend the person’s driving privileges for a period of not less than six (6) months and not more than two (2) years. However, this may be avoided if the court finds compelling circumstances warranting an exception (i.e. extreme hardship).
Mount Laurel Marijuana Possession Attorneys
For more information on whether or not you are eligible for a conditional discharge, contact our office and speak with an attorney today. Our attorneys can be reached for consultation 24/7 by calling 609-850-8284.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted.