If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense involving drugs (e.g. failure to make disposition, possession, use, etc.) or an Indictable CDS offense that has been downgraded to municipal court, you may be able to avoid prosecution by having the matter conditionally discharged.
My firm has diverted thousands of marijuana and other controlled dangerous substance offenses through the New Jersey Conditional Discharge Program.
A NJ conditional discharge has even been achieved by my firm in hard drug cases like heroin, cocaine, and prescription medication. The discussion that follows attempts to define the terms for conditional discharge for your better understanding. If you have more detailed questions and require representation, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact me at 856-302-1778.
Conditional Discharge Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:36A-1
The definition and terms for Conditional Discharge in New Jersey are contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:36A-1. This section of NJ law outlines the requirements to avoid a criminal record through completion of conditional discharge probation. It is important to keep in mind that since this relief is limited to a Disorderly Persons Offense involving drugs, for example, possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, it is typically encountered in municipal court. Other important characteristics of the program are:
Not a Conviction.
Admission into probation under 2C:36A-1 does not give rise to a criminal record, conviction nor is an admission of guilt even required. The reason for this arises out of the fact that, when an individual is admitted into the program, his or her charge is conditionally dismissed without a plea. When the conditions of the dismissal are fulfilled, the conditional discharge becomes a dismissal with prejudice (i.e. permanent).
Relationship With Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1.
A disorderly person offense for possession of paraphernalia or possessing a drug is frequently encountered in the context of a Motor Vehicle Stop and it is common to see a commensurate charge alleging violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1, Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle. N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 is an entirely separate motor vehicle charge that may or may not be merged into a conditional discharge, in the discretion of the prosecutor. Absent dismissal or merger of the 39:4-49.1 offense, an individual is exposed to a two year loss of license.
Suspension of License Because of a Conditional Discharge.
The law permits the court to suspend an individual’s license under the discharge law although an accused may introduce a hardship argument and, if successful, a license will not be suspended.
Interplay with Pretrial Intervention.
Conditional discharge is only available with respect to disorderly persons offenses. When an individual is seeking diversion of an Indictable Offense as a first time offender, the program is Pretrial Intervention.
Do you need an attorney for a Drug Possession or Paraphernbailia matter? The Law Offices of Mitchell Lee Chambers represents the rights of these individuals.
Initial consultations are always free.