With mounting prison populations and a lack of space, the New Jersey Legislature amended a portion of the Code of Criminal Justice regarding Rehabilitation Programs for offenses involving controlled dangerous substances. The legislature expanded this code so as to provide admission into these Rehabilitation Programs where the defendant is a drug dependent or alcohol dependent person and not simply whether it was a controlled dangerous substance offense. Defendant’s charged with various criminal offenses like heroin possession, cocaine possession, marijuana distribution, burglary, theft by deception, robbery or shoplifting look at drug court as a last resort before they get sent to State prison for a long period of time. Therefore, if you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction and have been charged with a criminal offense in towns like Boonton, Rockaway, Madison, Mendham, Roxbury, Mount Olive, Harding, Long Hill, Washington, East Hanover, Morristown or elsewhere in Morris County, drug court may be your last option. If you would like to speak with any one of the eight Morris County, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers on staff at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall, please contact our Morristown Office at 973.970.0030.
What is the Eligibility for Drug Court in New Jersey?
What is a “Drug or Alcohol Dependent Person” for Drug Court Admission?
A “drug or alcohol dependent person” is a person who as a result of using a controlled dangerous substance or controlled dangerous substance analogue or alcohol has been in a state of psychic or physical dependence, or both, arising from that use on a continuous or repetitive basis. This dependence is characterized by behavioral and other responses including but not limited to a strong compulsion to take the substance on a recurring basis in order to experience its psychic effects or to avoid the discomfort of its absence. The definition of a drug dependent person includes an individual who was drug or alcohol dependent at the time of the offense. Thus, even if an offender achieved some level of success in his or her rehabilitation efforts by the time of sentencing, the offender may still be found drug or alcohol dependent.
Bars to Morris County Drug Court Admission
Generally, there are three situations where a defendant will be barred from admission into Drug Court. First, persons convicted of crimes of the first degree are not eligible. Also, those persons convicted of those specified crimes in the no early release act are not allowed admission. Nor are persons charged with the second-degree crimes of robbery or burglary eligible for admission. Lastly, certain drug-related offense that involve a mandatory period of parole ineligibility are barred from admission. With all that being said, they are not automatic bars. In recent years, the Courts have relaxed the rules at times in an effort to help combat the sudden increase in drug overdoses that New Jersey has been seeing as a whole.
What if I Violate the Terms of Drug Court?
Upon any violation of the terms of Drug Court, the court is permitted to immediately revoke the terms of your admission into the special probation program that is Drug Court. With that being said, they are not required too. However, upon a second or subsequent violation of any term or condition of the special probation, the court must permanently revoke the person’s special probation unless the court finds on the record that there is a substantial likelihood that the person will successfully complete the treatment program if permitted to continue on special probation. The court must also be clearly convinced, considering the nature and seriousness of the violations, that no danger to the community will result from permitting the person to continue on special probation pursuant to this section. If a defendant fails or refuses to submit to special monitoring by failing to submit to a urine test, terminates participation in treatment or commits any act that would constitute absconding from parole, the court may permanently revoke special probation.