Possession Charges and Conditional Discharges
If you have been charged with a drug related offense in municipal court, you have options to fight the charges and preserve your record.
In any criminal case, the State needs to meet the burden of proving each element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. The State must provide all discoverable materials, including but not limited to a lab report, if applicable. If the State does not provide the proper materials, it is possible by way of a motion that the matter can be dismissed.
You may also be eligible for a Conditional Discharge if you are charged with any of the following: possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana; NJSA 2C:35-10(b), under the influence of CDS; NJSA 2C:36-2, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to turn over CDS to an officer “failure to turn over;” NJSA 2C:35-10(a)(4).
How does a Conditional Discharge work?
N.J.S.A. 2C:36A-1 provides that an attorney can make a Motion to suspend further court proceedings and place their client on a special type of supervised probation. Because the program is optional, it is important that the attorney prepares evidence showing that their client is an ideal candidate for a conditional discharge.
The “evidence” may include letters of recommendation, proof of employment, drug treatment, and any other information that helps prove that the person charged will benefit from the conditional discharge program.
Also, if you enter into a conditional discharge, after completion of the program you still need to expunge the matter if you want the arrest off your record. It is important to be aware that by entering into a conditional discharge you will not be eligible for other diversionary programs in the future such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), which is available in Superior Court. Thus, it is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to help guide you through the Municipal Court system.
Chris Gillin-Schwartz has appeared in municipal courts throughout New Jersey including but not limited to Cape May, Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, North Wildwood, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Sea Isle, Ocean City, Somers Point, and Atlantic City.