Category: Municipal Court
Ocean and Monmouth County Pre Trial Intervention
Impact of Out of State Convictions
A Pre-trial Intervention Program (PTI) is a plan available to certain defendants, generally first time offenders or others with special circumstances, charged with indictable offenses that provides an alternative to ordinary prosecution in the criminal justice system, focusing on rehabilitation needs and services. A question that often arises is whether or not convictions in other states are taken into account by New Jersey courts when deciding if someone is eligible for a PTI. The short answer is yes.
Being indicted on any criminal offense is a serious situation. The legal system can be very intimidating and the potential for loss of rights, finances and freedom is enough to cause anyone worry. The Bronzino Law Firm has more experience defending clients who are facing criminal charges across Morris and Ocean County New Jersey in towns like Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Brick, and Toms River. Our attorneys are experienced at negotiating PTI programs for our clients. We will help you through the often complicated legal process with the goal of defending your freedom, your finances as well as your rights.
Prior Criminal Convictions and Brick, New Jersey Diversionary Programs
New Jersey law enforcement and courts have access to your prior criminal convictions, even if they are from another state. The importance of this is that prior convictions from other states may affect your eligibility for diversionary programs in that are available for first time offenders. A prior conviction in another state can also greatly impact your sentencing if you’re convicted of a crime.
It is important to note that if you have a conviction from another state, it will affect your eligibility for PTI if the crime you were convicted of is similar to a crime that exists in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey. However, if the state does not have any similar law, then you may still be eligible for diversionary programs, despite your previous conviction in another state.
Benefits of a PTI Programs in Ocean County
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of PTI is that upon successful completion of the program, you won’t have a criminal record. Because of the serious effects that a criminal conviction can have on employment and many other areas of your life, the ability to participate in PTI and successfully complete the program is a tremendous benefit.
Also, conditional discharge is another diversionary program available for first time drug offenders. This program may allow you to serve probation and have your charges dismissed with no record of a drug conviction upon successful completion. However, if you have a prior drug conviction from another state that involves marijuana or a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drug, you will not be eligible for the program.
Moreover, conditional dismissal programs permit first time offenders charged with certain disorderly persons offenses such as shoplifting, to participate in a diversion in order to avoid a conviction. Participants have to fulfill all conditions placed on them during a period of supervision. If they successfully complete the program, the charges against them will be dismissed. However, a conviction of an offense or crime in any jurisdiction, including another state, will make you ineligible for the program.
Does a Criminal Record from Another State Affect Sentencing for Monmouth County Charges?
According to the sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, if you have been convicted of a prior indictable offense, the court can impose a stiffer sentence on you in a subsequent criminal proceeding. If you have been convicted of a crime in another state, the court will have this information and considers the conviction a prior crime for sentencing purposes if the crime was of a substantially similar nature to a crime in that state.
Contact our Experienced Sea Girt Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
The criminal defense attorneys of the Bronzino Law Firm have extensive experience defending clients charged with all manner of criminal offenses from minor to major in Ocean and Monmouth County towns including Toms River, Brick, Ocean, Point Pleasant, Red Bank, and across the Jersey Shore. Since opening our doors our firm has believed in aggressively and zealously defending our clients charged with criminal offenses and using every possible legal tool to help them retain their freedom.
Monmouth and Ocean County Detention Rules Impacted by NJ Bail Reform
In 2014 New Jersey passed a constitutional amendment referred to as the Bail Reform Act. Taking effect in January 2017, it allowed certain criminal defendants to be detained without bail. Along with this amendment, pretrial justice and speedy trial legislation that implemented a risk assessment system went into effect. Pretrial justice reform, commonly called ‘bail reform’, has greatly changed the pretrial detention system and decision-making process from one based on the experience and impressions of judges, to an objective system of risk assessment.
The Bronzino Law Firm has experience helping clients who are facing criminal charges gain release on bail across New Jersey in towns such as in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Point Pleasant and the greater Monmouth and Ocean County area. Our attorneys are experienced at negotiating bail and release for our clients. We will help you navigate the often complicated legal process with the goal of defending your freedom as well as your rights.
Decisions on Detentions after Public Safety Assessment (PSA) in Monmouth County Courts
During a criminal detention hearing, both the prosecution and the defense are entitled to argue for detention or release. As well as arguments made by the prosecution and defense, the court uses evidence based risk assessment tools. A criminal defendant can only be detained while awaiting trial if the court finds that no condition or set of conditions would reasonably assure that the defendant will fail to appear, threaten public safety, or obstruct the criminal justice process.
In making this determination, the judge will consider the criminal defendant’s Pretrial Safety Assessment (PSA) score in addition to Decision Making Framework (DMF) recommendations on detention or release conditions.
A criminal defendant’s PSA score is primarily based on three categories, influenced by certain risk assessment factors:
- Failure to appear
- Pending charges at the time of arrest
- Prior convictions
Other factors that can affect a defendant’s PSA score include the following:
- Defendant’s age
- Prior indictable offenses
- Prior failure to appear within the last two years
- Previous incarceration sentence
- New violent criminal activity
- Current violent offense
- Violent offender under the age of 21
- New criminal activity
The Decision Making Framework (DMF) obligates the judge to engage in a 10-step process, using the defendant’s PSA score for the appropriate categories of failure to appear, new criminal activity, and new violent criminal activity, as well as other factors.
Is it Possible to Appeal an Ocean County Judge’s Detention Order?
The PSA and DMF recommendations are tools the judge uses in determining whether to jail a criminal defendant, release the defendant on their own recognizance, or release them with specific conditions. The judge holds complete discretion in making this decision and will consider the arguments presented by the prosecution and defense. Making a decision that goes against the recommendation of the risk assessment, requires the judge to provide an explanation.
Any release or detention order may be appealed if the judge abused his or her discretion in arriving at the decision. In establishing abuse of discretion, the appealing party is required to show that the judge made the decision without a rational explanation, inexplicably did not following established policies, or reached the decision on an impermissible basis.
Contact our Experienced Sea Girt Criminal Defense and Bail Attorneys Today
The criminal defense and bail attorneys at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson have extensive experience gaining bail for clients charged with all manner of criminal offenses from minor to major in Mercer County towns including New Brunswick, Hamilton, Lawrence, Princeton and Trenton. Since we opened our doors in 1972 our firm has believed in aggressively and jealously defending our clients charged with criminal offenses and using every possible legal tool to help them gain their freedom.
If you or someone you know has been arrested and are seeking release on bail contact us for a free and confidential consultation regarding your case. Please contact us online or through our Trenton, New Jersey offices by dialing (609) 528-2596 today.