Alternative Sentencing in New Jersey
New Jersey criminal law provides programs that allow certain first-time offenders to avoid a criminal conviction. These programs include Pretrial Intervention in Superior Court, Conditional Discharge in Municipal Court, and Drug Court. Alternative sentencing is intended to provide the defendant with rehabilitation, rather than punishment.
Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”) is New Jersey’s Superior Court alternative sentencing program. Whether you live in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, or any other county in New Jersey, PTI supervisory programs are available. PTI is intended for situations involving third-degree and fourth-degree felony offenses. An experienced criminal defense attorney can attempt to have the prosecutor consent to PTI for a second-degree criminal offense. In order to be accepted into PTI, the individual must first be accepted by the probation department and then by the prosecutor’s office. If the defendant is rejected by either probation or the prosecutor, a timely appeal must be filed with the Superior Court Judge. PTI involves a period of probation, usually for 12 to 18 months. During probation, the individual must report to their probation officer and follow all court-imposed conditions. In addition to probation, the individual must comply with the community service requirement, which can range from 45 to 120 hours of community service. Upon successful completion of all of PTI’s requirements, the charges are dismissed. Six months later, the individual can have the record of the arrest removed – or expunged – from their criminal record. If an individual fails to comply with will all of the conditions of PTI, they can be terminated from the program and the original criminal charges are reinstated.
Conditional Discharge (“CD”) is New Jersey’s alternative sentencing program at the municipal level. Unlike PTI, which is available for a broad scope of offenses, conditional discharge is only available for drug offenses. Under this program, after court-mandated probation (usually for one year) is completed, the charges are dismissed. Six months later, the individual can have the record of the arrest removed – or expunged – from their criminal record. If an individual fails to successfully complete all of the court-imposed conditions, they can be terminated from the program and then face the original criminal charges.
Drug court programs are also available to some drug offenders in certain New Jersey counties. These programs exist to help drug addicts who have already failed the other rehabilitation programs available to them. These programs could last up to five years. Offenders accepting this alternative sentencing will have to attend treatment sessions, agree to random drug testing, and regularly report to a drug court judge.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, please contact the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers of the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf at (732) 741-4448 for a free consultation to determine whether alternative sentencing is an option.