Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
One March 1, 2016 New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General released a modified set of PTI guidelines for 1st and 2nd degree offenses and crimes involving domestic violence. There are really three new areas which defendants need to be aware of in order to determine if they are entitled to PTI as first time offenders. Initially, these guidelines open the door to PTI for certain major crimes in the 1st and 2nd degree offense level. Admission is not guaranteed for all 1st degree and 2nd degree crimes, especially weapons offense or sex crimes. However, these revisions at least opens the door for ‘prosecutorial consideration’ as opposed to blanket statutory preclusion in all circumstances. At least defendants now have access to judicial review of the prosecutor’s judgement of denial for these more serious crimes. The second change enables defendants changes with domestic violence crimes which may or may not be the subject to temporary and final restraining Orders to have access to PTI which they did not have prior to these changes.
PTI is presumptively not allowed for defendants charged with:
a) domestic violence charges against those who are already the subject of temporary or final restraining orders at the time of the new offense,
b) the charge involves ‘violence or the threat of violence’ pursuant to NJSA 2C:11-1b or d ,
c) a deadly weapon is used, threatened or gestured pursuant to NJSA 2C:11-1c,
d) the defendant threatens or inflicts significant bodily injury.