“Being charged with a crime for the first time is a nerve wrecking experience, and the only way to calm those nerves is to educate the client on his or her alternatives; I cannot stress the importance of this enough.”
Clifton, New Jersey (PRWEB) December 14, 2013
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, Peter G. Aziz, Esq., of The Law Offices of Peter G. Aziz & Associates LLC, compares & contrasts the alternatives for both first time and habitual offenders. Mr. Aziz explains how programs like Pretrial Intervention (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12) and New Jersey`s Conditional Discharge statute (N.J.S.A 2C:36A), provide a “slap on the wrist” alternative for defendants.
On September 6th, 2013, a bill was signed establishing a conditional dismissal program for cases concerning disorderly person offenses under municipal court jurisdiction. The new law will take effect January 4, 2014, and will create a municipal version of the program. Formerly, such interventions were only available for cases adjudicated at the Superior Court level, or for drug offense cases heard in the municipal courts. This of course is great news for first time offenders at the municipal level.
Mr. Aziz says, "Our firm deals with conditional discharge cases on a daily basis, for the State to allow conditional discharge at a municipal level is something extraordinary." The Northern New Jersey based law firm is a general practice firm that focuses on Criminal Defense Law. In addition, the firm also specializes in Real Estate Law and Family Law.
Attorney Peter G. Aziz states, “It is important for each client to be educated on the type of options he or she has when it comes to their place in the Criminal Justice system. It is a nerve wrecking experience, and the only way to calm those nerves is to educate the client on his or her alternatives; I cannot stress the importance of this enough.”
The most common divisionary program is New Jersey`s Pre-trial Intervention Program, or PTI (N.J.S.A 2C:43-12). This program is usually offered to first time offenders, and is a viable alternative to full prosecution under the law.
Attorney Aziz states, “The goal of this program is to deter the defendant from committing future crimes, and if completed successfully, the defendant will not have a criminal record thereby avoiding the high cost of going through a lengthy trial.”
The defendant is usually required to complete rehabilitory programs for issues such as anger management and drug or alcohol abuse. Mr. Aziz stresses the notion, “this program is a great way for a defendant to walk away from having a criminal record, all while changing their life for the better by actually providing the client with help for their issues.”
Another alternative or option is a conditional discharge, also referred to as a Chapter 36A. This program is often applied towards first time minor drug offenders. Mr. Aziz states, “Chapter 36A is in fact a divisionary program designed to simultaneously offer the offender a “slap on the wrist” and deter the offender from committing another drug offense by requiring the offender to participate in drug testing.”
Often times, minor offenders take advantage of this option because the program requires you to be drug-free and offense-free for 6 months to 1 year while being on probation. Upon successful completion of the program, the offense will be expunged from the offender’s record completely. Attorney Aziz stresses the fact that attaining a conditional discharge is in fact difficult, “Since granting a conditional discharge is entirely within the discretion of the judge’s ruling on a particular case. However, a knowledgeable and effective criminal defense attorney will not have a problem procuring one if the defendant meets the criteria.”
When charged with a criminal offense it is important to know the rights afforded to you under the law. To discuss whether or not you are eligible for a Pre-trial intervention, a Conditional Discharge, other alternative programs, or your rights with respect to any legal proceeding, please contact The Law Offices of Peter G. Aziz & Associates LLC at 201-562-6202, pgaalaw(at)gmail, or visit them at http://www.pgaalaw.com.