PTI and Conditional Discharge Expungement
New Jersey has a number of diversionary programs designed to give defendants alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process. The goal is to deter future criminal activity by providing support and rehabilitative services. The most popular diversionary programs in New Jersey are Pretrial Intervention (PTI) and Conditional Discharge. Upon completion of either of these programs, your charges will automatically be dismissed. However, you will still have an arrest record that is searchable. You are allowed to expunge this record 6 months after completion of the diversionary program. This is the most popular type of expungement filed in court and the easiest to get granted as long as the petitioner is eligible under statute.
The PTI program typically consists of one to three years of probation. Failure to successfully complete the program results in the case being sent back to court. In order to be eligible for PTI you must meet the following criteria (Rule 3:28):
- 18 years of age or older
- New Jersey resident
- Charged with offense in New Jersey
- Offense is not minor (typically applies to third or fourth degree offense)
- First-time offender
- Never previously granted diversionary program
Conditional Discharge is a type of diversionary program designed specifically for marijuana and minor drug offenses in New Jersey. The program typically consists of 6 to 24 months of probation, including random drug testing. You can only participate in the program once. In order to be eligible for a conditional discharge expungement, you must have not been previously convicted of any other drug offense or enrolled in a diversionary program (N.J.S. 36A-1).
If you complete PTI or Conditional Discharge (CD) and are later convicted for another felony or misdemeanor, you will not be able to expunge that record. You will only be able to get the PTI/CD record off, but nothing else. This is because a diversionary program is a second chance. Therefore, any additional offenses are not expungeable if you successfully completed the program. There is two exceptions to the rule: Municipal Ordinance violations and dismissed cases are expungeable even if you’ve completed PTI/CD.