Conditional Discharge is an Option for a First Time Drug Offender
Having a drug offense on your criminal record can cause detrimental consequences. Assuming that you have no prior drug or drug paraphernalia convictions, obtaining a conditional discharge is an option worth discussing with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A conditional discharge is a diversionary program that allows a first time drug offender to avoid a drug conviction on his or her criminal record. It can be applied for if you have been charged with, or even convicted of violating, your first drug-related disorderly persons offense in New Jersey.
How a Conditional Discharge Works
In obtaining a conditional discharge, you are agreeing to receive supervisory treatment (similar to probation) in exchange for a suspension of your drug charge proceedings during the conditional discharge period. The period of time you are subject to supervisory treatment is determined based on the court's discretion, which takes into consideration the specific facts of your case. If you are still awaiting a trial on your drug charge, your proceedings may be suspended in exchange for a period of supervisory treatment of up to three years. If you have already plead guilty or you were found guilty at trial, a conditional discharge can prevent the entry of a drug conviction in exchange for the supervisory treatment. In the latter circumstance, the court may additionally suspend your driver's license for a period of up to two years.
Discretionary Factors Must be met for First Time Drug Offender to Qualify for Conditional Discharge
In determining whether a first time drug offender may seek a conditional discharge for his or her drug charge or conviction, the court considers several factors. For example, if the defendant would pose a danger to the community, a conditional discharge would not be available. The court also looks to whether supervisory treatment would be an adequate measure to correct the defendant's dependence on or use of controlled substances. As a conditional discharge is only available for a first time drug offender, a person who has previously received supervisory treatment would not be eligible to apply.
Call Villani & DeLuca Today for a Free Consultation
If you are a first time drug offender facing a drug charge in the state of New Jersey, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to help protect and defend your rights. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. will review all the facts of your case to determine if you may qualify for a conditional discharge. Call (732) 709-7757 today for a free initial consultation. We represent clients facing criminal charges throughout Ocean and Monmouth County New Jersey.