Dedicated Attorneys For Compassionate Legal Options
At Hanlon Dunn Robertson, our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand that crimes don’t just happen, but instead are caused by the backgrounds of the individuals who committed them. In some cases, there are financial issues that lead to a crime or even mental health and addiction issues that need to be addressed. We believe that incarceration alone is not a successful way to put an end to crimes and wish to help you gain the rehabilitation and/or second chance you need so that future crimes can be deterred.
The Pretrial Intervention Program Option
In New Jersey, if you have committed a low-level minor offense, you are not seen as a threat to the public. Our state believes in doing whatever it takes to deter future criminal behavior by those who might not be likely to commit a crime again. If you are somebody who has committed a minor crime and you find yourself facing penalties that you do not want to follow you through life, New Jersey’s pretrial intervention program could be for you.
For those who have no criminal record or a very limited one, the pretrial intervention program (also referred to as PTI) is a specialized rehabilitative approach to the criminal justice system to help offenders move forward after one minor mistake changed their lives.
Intervention Program Steps
Here are the steps that will follow when you have spoken to an attorney at Hanlon Dunn Robertson about the possibility of completing the PTI program:
- Enter Program: You discuss the program with your attorney and the prosecutor and/or judge assigned to your case so that you can find out more about the parameters of what will be expected of you. You then decide if you want to move forward with PTI.
- Learn Conditions: Certain conditions will have to be met while you are enrolled in this program. You will have to abstain from drugs and alcohol, avoid certain environments that you were in at the time of the crime, pass drug and alcohol screenings, and many other aspects that are imperative to program completion.
- Completion of Program: If you successfully complete the program, you will likely not face conviction. However, to truly face the issue of your criminal record, you will have to speak with your attorney about expungement so that your record can start fresh.
- Failure of Completion: If you violate the conditions of PTI and fail to complete the program, then you will start back at the beginning and have to endure the criminal system once more and any disadvantages it might bring. You might face the reality of prison rather than get to start with a fresh criminal record, which is why you are encouraged to maintain the best status in PTI.
Individuals always ask, Is PTI considered probation? And this is not exactly true. It is meant to work as a diversion program which is structurally different than probation in many ways. Probation is seen as a punishment to a crime, and PTI is seen as an alternative to avoid a conviction. Both are very different from one another. Simply put, probation will still leave you with a criminal conviction at the end. PTI will not leave you with one. If PTI is not an option, you may still be eligible for conditional discharge or conditional dismissal.
- Drug conviction expungement: Under previous New Jersey expungement laws, individuals who were convicted of certain drug crimes, such as drug distribution or drug possession with the intent to distribute, were ineligible to expunge their criminal record — regardless of the amount of time that has elapsed. However, under new expungement laws, these individuals are now eligible for criminal record expungement.
- Felony conviction expungement: The changes in New Jersey expungement laws also dramatically reduce the expungement eligibility waiting period for individuals convicted of a felony offense from 10 years (from the end of their sentence) to five years.
If you have been charged with a first-time misdemeanor such as simple possession or other low-level drug offense in New Jersey, you might be eligible for what is known as a conditional discharge. Conditional discharge is a diversionary program for first-time drug offenders that may allow you to serve probation and to have the charges against you dismissed. The sentence for probation is typically one to three years, but drug charges may be dismissed after probation has been successfully served. There are many benefits to a conditional discharge if you are eligible, including the possibility of avoiding a criminal record, conviction or pleading guilty.
If you have been charged with a low-level misdemeanor such as disorderly conduct but do not want this crime to impact you for the rest of your life, you might have the option of a conditional dismissal. With this option, could be facing less serious penalties – such as fines, classes, and community service – instead of jail time or probation.
Call Hanlon Dunn Robertson Today
Once your criminal record is expunged, you can truthfully answer ‘no’ to questions about whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. Additionally, any record of your arrest, criminal charges, case dismissal, guilty plea, verdict, or any other matter related to your criminal case will no longer be accessible in a criminal background check. Find out what options could possibly apply to your situation by calling our firm at 973-756-2927 or contacting us online to set up a free initial consultation.