What Is a Diversionary Program?
A diversionary program is an option in New Jersey to deal with your criminal manner in a nontraditional way. A diversionary program diverts certain individuals away from the court and prison system and allows them to not have a criminal record. These are usually only available for first time offenders. There are three different diversionary programs in New Jersey, Pretrial Intervention, Conditional Discharge, and Conditional Dismissal.
The first diversionary program in New Jersey is pretrial intervention. This is for first time offenders in Superior Court. If you enter PTI and successfully complete it, the charges are dismissed. However, if you have a conditional discharge on your record, you will not be eligible for PTI. Find out more information about PTI.
While anyone can apply to PTI, the following circumstances usually prevent an individual from entering PTI
- Part of organized criminal activity
- Part of a continuing criminal business or enterprise
- Deliberately committed with violence or threat of violence against another person;
- Deprecate the seriousness of defendant’s crime
- First Degree Offense
- Second Degree Offense
To enter PTI, first, you need to apply with criminal case management. They
will review your criminal record and make sure you are eligible for PTI. Once that is completed, the prosecutor’s office will review the offense and potentially talk to victims if there are any. Once this is completed, they will make the recommendation of whether you can enter PTI or not. If you are accepted, then you will go in front of a Judge and enter into the program. You will not have to plead guilty but only agree to participate in PTI. Once this happens, the Judge signs an order granting your admission into PTI.
If criminal case management or the prosecutor’s office does not approve your application, then you can appeal your denial. This requires a brief being written by your attorney. The prosecutor will file a brief as well. A hearing will then be set in front of the Judge. The Judge will then have the ultimate decision to determine whether you can enter PIT or not.
Another diversionary program offered in New Jersey is a condition discharge. This applies to individuals charged with a municipal court drug offense. Again, this must be a first time offense for an individual to be eligible. If you have a conditional discharge on your record, you are not eligible for PTI. Find more out about a conditional discharge.
Again, while anyone can apply for a conditional discharge, the following factors will be considered.
- Danger defendant presents to the community
- No prior supervisory of the defendant
- Whether the terms of supervision are adequate to protect the public
A conditional dismissal is also available for first time offenders in municipal court. There is no requirement here that the offense charged is a drug offense. This allows you to resolve your charges in a way that you will not have anything on your record.
No matter what diversionary program you enter into, the conditions are similar. You will be placed on a term of probation from 6 months until 3 years. While you are being supervised, you will have to report to a probation officer and complete any requirements established by the court. Some of these requirements might be random drug testing, maintaining employment or going to school, and restitution. Additionally, you must remain offense free. At the end of the term of supervision, an order will be submitted to the court dismissing your charges. Once this is done, the charges are no longer on your record. Additionally, you can then apply for an expungement. Find out more about expungement requirements:
What happens if I violate my conditions?
If you violate one of the conditions of your diversionary program, a violation can be filed by your probation officer. You can choose to plead guilty to the violation or have a hearing. If you plead guilty or are found guilty at the hearing, you will be terminated from the program. If that happens, then your case starts from the beginning again. The prosecutor will offer you a plea offer that does not involve a diversionary program or you can choose to go to trial. If you accept the plea offer or go to trial and lose, then you will have a criminal record. That is why it is imperative to hire an attorney like Jenna Casper Bloom if a violation is filed against you while you are in a diversionary program. You do not want to lose your opportunity to have no record and being able to expunge the arrest.
Jenna Casper Bloom has over fourteen years experience handling all criminal matters including thefts, drug offenses, weapons offenses, sexual assault, aggravated assault, domestic violence, Megan’s Law offenses, Graves Act, DWI/DUI, traffic tickets, Pre-trial intervention, gun cases, marijuana charges, and expungements. She has handled cases from all stages and hearings including motions to suppress, Miranda hearings and has extensive trial experience. She provides an aggressive defense for any crime that one is charged with which results in her clients receiving favorable outcomes. Additionally, many times Jenna Casper Bloom gets cases dismissed for her client or plead guilty to a lesser offense. She has also argued probation and parole violation hearings which resulted in her clients being able to stay on probation or parole and not return to prison. She especially has experience with detention hearings, allowing her clients to be released pending their trial instead of languishing in jail. If you can be charged with the crime, Jenna Casper Bloom has experience in defending it. She practices in Mercer County, Hunterdon County, Warren County, and Somerset County as well as in the towns of Trenton, Flemington, Clinton, Raritan, Annandale, Union, Pennington, East Amwell, West Amwell, Lawrenceville, Ewing, and Princeton.