Probation is defined as a period of time in which an offender is supervised by a probation officer, and required to meet certain conditions imposed by the courts. The New Jersey Courts system uses probation as an alternative either for individuals who are facing incarceration. An offender must maintain regular contact with the probation officer and satisfy all the ongoing requirements that have been set forth by the court. Such conditions may include abiding by a curfew, attending psychological counseling, and refraining from the possession of drugs, alcohol and firearms.
Complying with Probation in NJ
The terms of probation in NJ depend on certain factors, such as your age, your charge or conviction, and prior criminal history. For example, if you are under 18 years of age, you may be placed on juvenile supervision through the family courts. The terms under this program include scheduled meetings with the probation officer, participation in substance abuse treatment programs, and individual or group therapy sessions. The terms are similar under adult supervision, but this program has special requirements for sex offenders under the terms of Meghan’s Law. Sex offenders are required to submit their information on a public registry so that the community can be informed that a sex offender is living in their area. They may also be placed on house arrest for a certain period of time, during which they may only leave the house for employment purposes. In cases of domestic violence or sex crimes, offenders are banned from having any contact with their victims, and may be tracked 24 hours a day through an electronic monitoring device.
Probation for Conditional Discharge or Pretrial Intervention
In the case of diversionary programs, such as conditional discharge and pretrial intervention, probation in NJ is used as a way to avoid traditional criminal proceedings. The probationary period lasts anywhere from six months to three years, and includes conditions such as random drug testing and substance abuse counseling. The greatest benefit to these programs—in addition to avoiding a prison sentence—is that your charge will be dismissed upon successful completion of all the court-appointed terms. This means you will be able to qualify for a faster expungement of your arrest record. Those who are out on diversionary programs, such as conditional discharge, will have their case returned to the court, and are likely to be sentenced to jail or prison upon conviction for violation of probation in NJ. Violating the terms of probation in NJ is a criminal offense with serious consequences.
Questions About Probation?
If you have questions about the terms of probation in NJ, please speak to the criminal defense lawyers of Villani & DeLuca. Our knowledgeable attorneys can explain all the different programs under the New Jersey Court’s Probation Supervision program. They can also file the required paperwork and give you effective legal representation should you need to appear in court. Please call (732) 965-3350 to schedule a free initial consultation.