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Conditional Discharge for First-Time Offenders in New Jersey

Conditional discharge is a diversionary program in municipal court that exists for first time drug offenders that may allow you to serve probation (of one to three years) and have charges against you dismissed, and, under certain circumstances, to keep your driving privileges. Conditional discharge is just one legal option we explore for clients without an existing record, who are facing a first, drug related offense.

If you are eligible for conditional discharge of the charges against you, you may be able to avoid prosecution. If you have questions about whether or not you may be eligible for this diversionary program, contact our defense law offices today by calling 732-303-7857 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your rights, and your legal options.

Charges Dismissed After Probation

Drug charges may be dismissed after one to three years’ probation has been successfully served. During the probation period, the defendant must pass all required drug tests and cannot be arrested for any other offense or crime. Defendants must also adhere to any other conditions of the probation.

Loss of Driving Privileges

The court is required to suspend the defendant’s driver’s license after being admitted into the conditional discharge program. Driver’s license suspension will range from a minimum of 6 months up to 2 years. However, once admitted into the conditional discharge program, the court has the discretion of not suspending defendant’s privilege to drive based on a “hardship exception.”

Eligibility for Conditional Discharge

A conditional discharge may be a legal option for defendants charged with a disorderly persons offense involving drugs, or an indictable offense that has been downgraded to a municipal court. Not every defendant is eligible for a diversionary program.

It is best to contact our law offices so we can learn more about the particular charges you are facing, and to advise you as to your eligibility. However, in general, the following are eligibility criteria for  a conditional discharge:

  • No Prior Drug Conviction. To be eligible for a conditional discharge, the defendant may not have any prior drug conviction in any U.S. court.
  • No Prior Participation In Diversionary Program. The defendant may not have ever been placed in a conditional discharge or pretrial intervention program before.
  • Not a Danger. In addition, the defendant may not pose a danger to the community if given a conditional discharge.

How Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC Can Help

If your charges cannot be dismissed, and you are not eligible for conditional discharge you may still have other legal strategies we can pursue. For example, we may be able to get simple drug possession charges downgraded to other offenses or even to a violation of a municipal ordinance that does require the loss of your driving privileges.

No matter what charges you are facing, you do not have to face them alone. We are here to help you understand your charges, your options, and to get you the best possible outcome in your case. For a free consultation, please call us at 732-303-7857 today.

You can read the full statute regarding conditional discharges here: N.J.S.A. 2C:36A-1. Conditional discharge for certain first offenses; expunging of records.

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