Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal Lawyers in Morristown, New Jersey
Experienced Conditional Discharge and Dismissal Attorneys Representing Clients in Morris County and Throughout NJ
Facing criminal charges is no walk in the park. 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. If you or a loved one has ever been charged with a crime and had to speak with a criminal defense attorney, 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.
Under New Jersey law, ‘diversionary programs’ were developed in order to help offenders who have been charged with minor and non-violent crimes to avoid going through the regular court process of a plea and sentence or a trial. The belief is that counseling, rather than punishment, can often help and deter such people from future criminal behavior. If you’ve been charged with a crime and are interested in a program that emphasizes counseling, treatment, and behavior modification over punitive measures, you might be looking at these diversionary tactics as a way to get back on your feet. The three primary types of diversionary programs that exist in New Jersey include pre-trial intervention, conditional discharge, and conditional dismissal. You will find that whether you qualify for any of these diversionary tactics is based on the particular set of circumstances surrounding your criminal case.
Pre-trial intervention (PTI) is, for the most part, designed to help first-time offenders who have been charged with certain third- or fourth-degree crimes to avoid the crippling consequences associated with a felony criminal conviction. If you are a first-time offender who is eligible to file for PTI, you may work towards having your charges dismissed, avoid jail time, and may be able to take the additional step of seeking to expunge, or seal, the record of your case. However, if PTI is not an option, you may still be eligible for conditional discharge or conditional dismissal.
Conditional Discharge in New Jersey
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor such as simple possession or other low-level drug offense in New Jersey, you might be eligible for what is known as a conditional discharge. Conditional discharge is a diversionary program for first-time drug offenders that may allow you to serve probation and to have the charges against you dismissed. The sentence for probation is typically one to three years, but drug charges may be dismissed after probation has been successfully served.
There are many benefits to a conditional discharge, including the fact that you may be able to avoid a criminal record. If you are eligible for the discharge, you will not be convicted or even need to plead guilty. This does not mean that the arrest itself will not be on record, but you may later have the ability to have your arrest expunged or permanently removed as well. It may also be possible to avoid the suspension of your driver’s license. However, if the judge does decide to suspend your license, you may be able to have it reinstated with a successful hardship argument.
It is important to remember that conditional discharge is not meant for everyone, which is why eligibility is decided on a case by case basis. As a general rule, those who have been charged with a serious crime will not be eligible. Discharge is only available to those whose crimes are not extremely severe in nature, such as misdemeanors involving drugs, like simple possession of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia.
However, if you have already been convicted of one or more of these crimes in the past, you will automatically be ineligible. The same can be said for those who have been offered an intervention program in the past. A person who has already participated in a conditional discharge or a similar diversionary program (such as pre-trial intervention) will typically not be eligible.
However, no matter what charges you are facing, you should still contact an experienced attorney at Hanlon Dunn Robertson & Schwartz to help you understand your options and to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Conditional Dismissal in Dover, Chatham, and Throughout NJ
Conditional dismissal is different from discharge in the way that it applies to various types of disorderly conduct crimes, while conditional discharge only applies to cases where somebody has been arrested on a low-level drug crime. If you have been charged with a low-level misdemeanor such as disorderly conduct but you do not want this crime to impact you for the rest of your life, you might have the option of a dismissal.
If you go through the process of dismissal, you could be facing less serious penalties as a result – such as fines, classes, and community service – instead of jail time or probation. These types of intervention programs tend to be more informal than the process of PTI or discharge, however, this does not necessarily mean that it is easier to obtain a dismissal, but that you may be granted more freedom.
If you are a first-time offender and you have received a minor charge but you don’t want that charge to follow you and impact every move you make, with the help of an experienced attorney you may have the right to file for dismissal.
Contact a New Jersey Conditional Discharge or Dismissal Attorney at Hanlon Dunn Robertson & Schwartz Today
At Hanlon Dunn Robertson & Schwartz, we handle conditional discharge and conditional dismissal throughout Morris County, including Parsippany, Morristown, Washington Township, Dover, Denville, East Hanover Township, Victory Gardens, Boonton Township, Harding Township, and Mount Arlington, NJ. If you are curious about how these types of intervention programs work and what options are available in the midst of your criminal case, please contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Conditional Discharge and Conditional Dismissal
A conditional discharge is slightly stricter than its counterpart. The conditional discharge, as mentioned, requires many conditions to be met and, once the program is complete, the discharge will be listed on the individual’s record for three years. An absolute discharge is different in the way that it requires nothing further from a defendant, and the crime will be removed off of the defendant’s record in a year.
No. The judge assigned to your case will dictate how long the discharge will be. For instance, if they sentence you to probation and give you those conditions to meet, they might say that it could last anywhere from six months to a full year or even longer depending on the crime. This is at the full discretion of the courts.