Mistakes happen. When certain mistakes lead to criminal convictions, lives are changed forever. Diversion programs offer first-time offenders a chance to return to their normal lives and jobs with a clean criminal record. Under a diversion program, prosecution of the criminal charges is suspended to allow the defendant to complete a probation program. Upon successful completion, all charges are dismissed and the criminal record can be expunged.
For adult first-time offenders, New Jersey has three diversion options:
- Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI)
- Conditional Discharge
- Conditional Dismissal
These options are available for lower grade felonies, misdemeanors and other minor offenses. Obtaining a diversion resolution in a case is not automatic, but must be negotiated with the prosecutor and, in some cases, approved by the judge.
There are strategic choices to consider in whether diversion is appropriate, as well as the type of diversion received. Since diversion can only be used once in a person’s lifetime, the strengths and weaknesses of the case should be weighed by an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine whether diversion will serve the defendant’s best interest.
Should diversion be found to be appropriate, the conditions or requirements of the probation program should be tailored to be fair and attainable. In the unfortunate event the probation is not successfully completed, the case is no longer suspended and will be set for trial. Only a skilled criminal defense attorney can effectively navigate all of the options for first-time offenders and lead them to a fresh start.
Contact John W. Tumelty, an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Atlantic & Cape May counties, to stand up for your rights and work tirelessly to get you into a diversionary program to save your record and reputation.