Conditional Discharge Expungement in New Jersey

The process of expungement in New Jersey involves petitioning the court for removal of all records relating to past criminal offenses maintained by law enforcement, courts, correctional agencies, etc. Those who are subjected to a background check are adversely impacted when evidence of a conviction is revealed. In 2017 in New Jersey, the courts processed over 11,700 applications for expungement. To be eligible, the applicant must maintain a clean record for a period of time and fulfill any conditions imposed for their conviction.

Conditional Discharge Programs

Courts across the state have implemented different types of programs that are designed to allow non-violent offenders with no prior criminal record to have the charges against them dismissed. These are often referred to as alternative sentencing or diversionary programs. New Jersey offers a Conditional Discharge Program for those charged with drug or drug paraphernalia-related offenses.

In this program, the court will suspend the criminal proceedings, place the defendant under a period of supervision, and order various conditions and requirements. The period of supervision will not exceed a period of three years. Individuals who have previously participated in a conditional discharge program are not eligible. If the individual successfully completes the program, they are then able to have the charges against them dismissed. This allows the offender to maintain a record free of a criminal conviction.

Types of Eligible Offenses

The primary offenses that are committed by those entering the Conditional Discharge Program are those in C.24:21-20 that relate to the controlled substances. If an individual enters the program of supervision after being found guilty, the court may suspend the individual's driver's license for a period of between six months and two years. This loss of driving privileges may be waived if it can be determined that it would create “extreme hardship” and that they lack access to an alternate form of transportation. When the individual is under the age of 17, the loss of driving privileges will not extend beyond a period of two years from when they reach the age of 17.

Existing Suspension of Driving Privileges

If an individual entering supervisory treatment under the program has their driver's license suspended already, any suspension imposed will begin when the current suspension ends. Those found to be operating a vehicle while under these suspensions will incur an additional charge and associated penalties.

Violating the Terms of a Conditional Discharge Program

If the program participant fails to adhere to the rules of supervision, such as by committing another criminal offense, they will generally be remanded back to the court to face the original charges. Those who are dismissed from the program are strongly encouraged to retain defense counsel.

Differences in Terminology for Adults and Juveniles

The provisions of the statutes and terms used by the courts are different based on whether the defendant is an adult or a juvenile.



Placed under arrest

Taken into custody

Criminal conviction

Act of delinquency



Incarcerated in a prison or jail facility

Detained in a secure facility or juvenile justice institution

Benefits of Having Legal Representation

Those charged with an offense should promptly consult with an attorney who regularly practices in the realm of criminal defense. This is critical to ensure that your rights are protected. Having a criminal conviction on your record may create long-term consequences that may impede your pursuits that relate to education, employment, housing, and more.

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney

Joseph D. Lento is an attorney that has been effectively representing clients in criminal matters for many years. He will evaluate the specific circumstances involved in your case to develop a comprehensive defense strategy. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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