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South Jersey Law Blog

Good News for New Jersey First-Time Offenders

Posted by Matt Rooney | Sep 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

Municipal Court Conditional Discharge Law

Many first-time municipal court offenders will benefit from a new law enacted in New Jersey. We've written many times in the past about conditional discharge, a diversionary program that permits certain New Jersey defendants to avoid (and ultimately dismiss) certain criminal charges. You can read more about the process generally here with the understanding that, as with all legal matters, the exact process is specific to your circumstances and outcomes are never guaranteed. This is a link to the statute as it read prior to any changes. First-time offenders in municipal court will now have the same opportunity to clear their records presently enjoyed by many Superior Court defendants facing more serious charges. The signed version of the bill, A-3598/S-2588, will allow defendants charged with petty disorderly offense or disorderly persons offense to apply for a “conditional dismissal program” under the condition that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a petty disorderly persons offense. Governor Christie had conditionally vetoes a different version of the legislation last November, meaning that he returned the bill to the legislature with suggested changes. It's important to note that the defendant must make an application after a plea of guilty or a guilty conviction but before the entry of a judgment of conviction.  Other exceptions to eligibility include crimes which involve gang-related activities, commissions of domestic violence, DWI/DUI offenses and cruelty to animals. Don't wait until after your matter is already decided to act. Many crimes that are eligible to for the conditional discharge program can have a negative impact on your employment and general quality of life. If you or a loved one is a first time offender charged who is eligible for a conditional discharge or if you have questions about your eligibility, then we may be able to help. Before you plead guilty and get a criminal record, surrender your driving privilege and pay fines without knowing and understanding your full range of options, please contact the New Jersey Conditional Discharge Lawyers at DeMichele and DeMichele at (856) 546-1350 for a free and confidential consultation. Many times we can offer fixed and flat fees for our services. We except Visa and MasterCard and payment plans are available.

About the Author

Matt Rooney

Practice Areas: Family Law (including Divorce, Alimony, Child Support, and Domestic Violence); Municipal Court; Personal Injury; Residential Real Estate; Civil Litigation; Collections.


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