In New Jersey, P.L. 2013, c.158, effective January 4, 2014, establishes the Conditional Dismissal program in the municipal courts.
What is a conditional dismissal?
In New Jersey, Conditional Dismissal is a diversion program that allows for an individual to avoid prosecution for petty disorderly persons offense and disorderly persons offense convictions by successfully completing a period of supervision (i.e. probation).
Can I expunge my arrest after a conditional dismissal?
When you successfully complete all the conditions or probationary requirements of the Conditional Dismissal, the court will enter an order of dismissal, dismissing the charge(s). After the court dismisses the charge(s) against you, you can then apply for expungement under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-6. You may have your arrest expunged six (6) months after entry of the order of dismissal according to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-6(b).
P.L. 2013, c.158, effective January 4, 2014
A defendant is eligible for Conditional Dismissal if he or she: (1) has no prior conviction for a controlled substance abuse offense; (2) has never had the benefit of participation in a diversionary program; and (3) has not been charged with organized gang activity, domestic violence as defined in the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, driving under the influence (DUI), a continuing criminal business or enterprise, a breach of the public trust by a public officer or employee, an offense against an elderly, disabled or minor person, a violation of animal cruelty laws or a drug offense graded as a disorderly persons offense under chapter 35 or 36 of Title 2C. Drug offenses graded as disorderly persons offenses are excluded from the Conditional Dismissal program since they are eligible for diversion under the conditional discharge statute. Only first time offenders who commit a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense on or after the effective date, January 4, 2014, are eligible for the program.
Length of Probation
Up to twelve (12) months of monitoring.
Defendant must be fingerprinted as provided in N.J.S.A. 53:1-15 to allow for verification of the defendant's criminal history by the prosecutor. Person seeking admission to the conditional dismissal program must pay the court an application fee of $75. The law allows a defendant to apply for a waiver of the fee by reason of poverty.
Factors in Evaluating Whether the Court Should Admit an Eligible Candidate into Conditional Dismissal:
(1) The nature and circumstances of the offense; (2) The facts surrounding the commission of the offense; (3) The motivation, age, character, and attitude of the defendant; (4) The desire of the complainant or victim to forego prosecution; (5) The needs and interests of the victim and the community; (6) The extent to which the defendant's offense constitutes part of a continuing pattern of anti-social behavior; (7) Whether the offense is of an assaultive or violent nature, whether in the act itself or in the possible injurious consequences of such behavior; (8) Whether the applicant's participation will adversely affect the prosecution of co-defendants; (9) Whether diversion of the defendant from prosecution is consistent with the public interest; and (10) Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
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