Municipal Court Diversion Programs (Part 4)

by | Feb 3, 2016 | Blog, Criminal Law, News

(2) Nothing in this act shall preclude a defendant charged with any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under chapter 35 or 36 of Title 2C from applying to the court for admission into the conditional discharge program in accordance with N.J.S. 2C:36A-1.

In addition to the eligibility criteria enumerated in this section, the court shall consider the following factors:


(1) The nature and circumstances of the offense;

(2) The facts surrounding the commission of the offense;

(3) The motivation, age, character and attitude of the defendant;

(4) The desire of the complainant or victim to forgo prosecution;

(5) The needs and interests of the victim and the community;

(6) The extent to which the defendant’s offense constitutes part of a continuing pattern of anti-social behavior;

(7) Whether the offense is of an assaultive or violent nature, whether in the act itself or in the possible injurious consequences of such behavior;

(8) Whether the applicant’s participation will adversely affect the prosecution of codefendants;

(9) Whether diversion of the defendant from prosecution is consistent with the public interest; and

(10) Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.


Note that the ten factors in section c are modeled off of the superior court’s PTI eligibility criteria. However, as a practical matter, they will rarely be considered because municipal courts do not have the superior court’s resources. Thus, while a probation officer conducts a background interview and research regarding defendants seeking PTI acceptance, no such interview or research occurs at the municipal court level. Thus, defendants who are not precluded by the criteria in sub-section b will by and large be accepted to the conditional dismissal program.

Program participants will be under probation monitoring for one year and be subject to monetary obligations and may be subject to other conditions imposed by the court.
While the prosecutor has notice of the application, an opportunity to object and the right to appeal, discretion as to granting an application is the court’s. Presumably, the standard on appeal is the same as that for any other sentencing decision by a court, not the “abuse of discretion” standard in PTI appeals.

2C:43-13.4. Violation of Terms Prior to Dismissal. Violation of Terms Prior To Dismissal. If a defendant who is participating in the conditional dismissal program is convicted of any petty disorderly persons offense, disorderly persons offense or crime under any law of the United States, this State or any other state, or otherwise fails to comply with the terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court may enter a judgment of conviction and impose a fine, penalty, or other assessment which may be imposed by the court in accordance with the defendant’s prior plea of guilty or finding of guilt.