Articles Tagged with “disorderly persons”

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Thumbnail image for 800px-Community_Service_Work_Detail_for_35th_District_Court_Northville_Michigan.jpgUnder New Jersey criminal law, the Pretrial Intervention Program, commonly known as “PTI” provides first-time offenders with the opportunity for an alternative to the ordinary criminal justice prosecution. PTI provides rehabilitative services to deter future criminal behavior. The program is based on a rehabilitative model that recognizes that there may be a casual connection between a charged offense and the rehabilitative needs of a person. The ultimate goal of PTI is to prevent future criminal behavior.

The best benefit of successfully completing PTI is that there is no record of conviction and an individual can avoid the stigma of a criminal record. Additionally, many of the costs associated with the formal court process can be eliminated. However, acceptance into and completion of the PTI program does not remove an arrest from individual’s record. Instead, successful completion of the PTI program will result in the dismissal of the original offense. Therefore an individual who successfully completes the PTI program should still seek to an expungement to remove any record of the original arrest. Failure to successfully complete the program will result in the case returning to the ordinary course of prosecution.

To be eligible for the PTI program, a defendant must be charged with an indictable offense. The program is designed for individuals who have no previous convictions and have never been granted permission into any other diversionary program or discharge. An individual seeking entry into the PTI program must be an adult resident of New Jersey. Individuals charged with criminal or penal offenses in New Jersey criminal or municipal courts can apply.

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stock-photo-885748-fingerprint-record-with-ink-pad.jpgGovernor Chris Christie signed a new legislation, Bill A-2598/S-2588, establishing a diversionary program for “minor” offenders in New Jersey municipal court matters. This law will take effect in January 2014 allowing conditional dismissal of disorderly persons (criminal offenses with sentences of less than six months) and petty disorderly persons (criminal offenses with sentences of less than 30 days) offenses for eligible defendants in certain circumstances. This law will operate similarly to the pretrial intervention program offered in the Superior Court.

The new law will allow eligible participants to enter into a one year probationary program and pay restitution, court costs, fines, and any other mandatory or discretionary assessments. Defendants will then be required to either plead guilty in New Jersey Municipal Court or there must be a finding of guilt to enter into the program. Entry into the program, however, will be before the entry of a conviction. The successful completion of the program will result in the dismissal of the criminal charges. Completion of the program will not be deemed a conviction for the purpose of any future prosecution. So in essence, the conviction is with wiped away when the defendants successfully completes the program.

People seeking entry into this program must have a clean criminal history. The program will apply to most, but not all criminal offenses tried in New Jersey municipal court, including disorderly conduct, simple assault, harassment, criminal trespass, underage gambling offenses, shoplifting, underage alcohol possession or use, and obstruction of justice. Individuals charged with gang activity, official breach of public trust, domestic violence, intoxicated driving, animal cruelty, and offenses against the elderly, disabled or minors are not eligible for this program. Courts must also consider eligibility factors such as the nature of the offense, a defendant’s background, and the victim’s wishes before entry into the program is permitted.

Individuals charged with a criminal offense who are eligible for this program may only be permitted into the program once. Similarly, prior participation in another diversionary program renders people ineligible for this program.

Those permitted entry into the program must pay a seventy-five dollar fee. Other fees and assessments may be waived or payment plans may be implemented at the discretion of the municipal court judge.
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