Proper police procedure is an important concept. Few people in New Jersey appreciate fully what it means. Authorities often count on that. And as we have noted in at least one previous post, individuals caught up in a routine traffic stop can quickly find themselves facing more serious criminal charges. Seeking counsel from an experienced attorney is crucial to protecting your rights.
Assembling a strong defense right from the outset is something that can go a long way toward minimizing the negative effects of a case. Regardless of the number and level of charges brought, if it can be shown that police failed to follow proper procedure, the possible penalties could be reduced - perhaps up to and including the automatic loss of your driver's license.
Among the various options that may be worth looking at are the various diversionary programs offered by the state. These are not available in every case. Usually they are reserved for first-time offenders. But there have been cases in which second-time offenders have sought and received approval.
Here is a quick rundown of these options.
- Conditional Discharge: This program tends to be reserved for those charged for the first time with a disorderly persons offense. It's worth noting that even individuals charged with possession of smaller amounts of marijuana or hash may be able to apply for this program.
- Pretrial Intervention Program: Those facing more serious charges, those identified as indictable offenses, may want to see if they are eligible for this. The program is premised on recognition that personal problems sometimes contribute to the conditions that lead to crime. So the focus is on establishing conditions for rehabilitation.
A major benefit of both programs is that meeting all the conditions allows you to avoid the shadow of a criminal record.