If your question is whether you are eligible for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or a Conditional Discharge it must first be determined what court your matter is going to be heard. If you are charged with a disorderly persons drug offense then your matter will be heard in municipal court. If you are charged with a felony offense then your matter will be heard in Superior Court.
Pre-Trial Intervention, commonly called PTI, is a diversionary program offered in the Superior Courts for those individuals with no criminal record. The process begins with an application to be filled out by the applicant and then probation interviews the applicant and reviews the application and renders a decision. Then, the Prosecutors Office will review the file and determine if they will accept the applicant. If the person is excepted into PTI, then he or she must appear before a Superior Court Judge in order to accept the conditions set forth. Usually, there are fines (for drug offenses there will be additional DEDR penalties) application costs, court costs and restitution if applicable. In addition, community service is imposed by the Judge and the hours can range from 50 to 300.
If you are appearing in Municipal Court and charged with a minor drug offense, then you could be eligible for a Conditional Discharge. When you receive aConditional Discharge you agree to be placed on probation for at least a year or longer, and if you complete the conditions imposed you will have the matter dismissed. This option is only available in the municipal courts and only applies to minor drug offenses.
What should know before your entering these programs?
These are once in lifetime programs– meaning you will not get more than one opportunity to get a Conditional Discharge or PTI. Also, if you have had a conditional discharge you are disqualified from getting PTI. Thus, it is imperative to explore motions or other possible outcomes prior to entering either of these programs. It important to have an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney guide you through this process.