Conditional Dismissal Program
As of January 4, 2014, a new law took effect in New Jersey that establishes a conditional dismissal program in the municipal courts for eligible first-time defendants charged with certain disorderly persons offenses. The conditional dismissal program seeks to fill a void in New Jersey’s existing diversionary programs – namely the conditional discharge program and pretrial intervention (PTI). A conditional discharge is only available for minor drug offenses being heard in a municipal court, while pretrial intervention is a diversionary program for low grade indictable offenses that are being heard in a superior court (County court).
A conditional dismissal is now available to first-time offenders charged with non-drug related disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses. Examples of these types of offenses include but are not limited to simple assault, shoplifting, harassment, and lewdness. A defendant may apply for a conditional dismissal if they:
1. Have not been previously convicted of a petty disorderly, disorderly persons offense or crime and;
2. Have not previously participated in the conditional discharge, conditional dismissal or PTI programs and;
3. The alleged offense occurred on or after January 4, 2014.
Additionally, a defendant is not eligible for participation in the conditional dismissal program if the offense for which the person is charged involved any of the following: organized crime or gang activity; a continuing criminal business or enterprise; public officers or employees who breach the public trust; domestic violence; offenses against the elderly, disabled or a minor; offenses involving driving while intoxicated; offenses involving animal cruelty; drug offenses (these are already covered by the Conditional Discharge Program).
The conditional dismissal program as well as the decision to utilize the program is a complicated one. The information provided here is merely an overview of the law and nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice. The law can and often does change. If you have a specific legal issue or problem, consult an attorney. If you have been arrested for a criminal charge in New Jersey and need professional advice, call one of the criminal defense attorneys at King, Kitrick, Jackson, McWeeney & Wells, LLC at (732) 920-8383 or email us. We will provide a free case evaluation and consultation.