If you have been charged in the State of New Jersey with any of the following offenses, you may be eligible for a Conditional Discharge pursuant to NJSA 2C:36-A-1: NJSA 2C:35-10(c), failure to turn over CDS to an officer “failure to turn over;” NJSA 2C:35-10(a)(4), possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana; NJSA 2C:35-10(b), under the influence of CDS; NJSA 2C:36-2, possession of drug paraphernalia. These matters are heard in Municipal Court.
What is a Conditional Discharge? If you are eligible for a Conditional Discharge, it does not automatically mean that you will enter into the Program. Pursuant to NJSA 2C:36A-1, an attorney can make a Motion to suspend further court proceedings and place their client on a special type of supervised probation. Since this is an optional program, it is important that the defense attorney prepare evidence showing that their client is a good candidate for a conditional discharge. It is helpful to collect letters of recommendation, proof of employment, drug treatment, and any other information that helps prove that the defendant will benefit from such program.
An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can advise you if entrance into a Conditional Discharge is something you should consider. For example, the State needs to meet their burden by providing all discoverable materials, including but not limited to a lab report, if applicable. If the State does not provide the proper materials, it is possible by way of a motion that the matter can be dismissed. Also, if you enter into a conditional discharge, after completion of the program you still need to expunge the matter if you want the arrest off your record. It is important to be aware that by entering into a conditional discharge you will not be eligible for other diversionary programs in the future such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). Thus, it is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to help guide you through the Municipal Court system.