Gusciora Hopes to See Bill Creating Alternative to Prosecution for Petty Offenses Become Law Soon
Lead Sponsor Would Like to Move Forward with Changes Proposed by Governor
(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) on Wednesday said he hopes to see the legislature move forward with proposed changes to a bill he sponsored that would create an alternative to typical prosecution for individuals charged with petty or disorderly offenses.
The bill (A-3096) would establish a conditional dismissal program in municipal court similar to existing supervisory treatment programs, which would allow individuals charged with a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense to have the charges dismissed if they successfully complete a supervisory treatment program.
The measure was conditionally vetoed by Governor Christie yesterday with the recommendation that the $500 fine created under the bill to assist with the costs to municipalities be reduced to $75 in an effort to make the conditional dismissal option feasible for everyone, including those with limited means.
“In the interest of making this program a reality, I’d like to see the legislature move forward with these proposed changes,” said Gusciora. “Alternative programs like this can help keep people’s lives on track, make sure they get the treatment they need and save taxpayers money in the long-run. The Governor’s recommendations are sensible and in the interest of making this program more accessible to everyone. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to approve these changes so we can get this program up and running.
Gusciora noted that conditional dismissal would not be available to any person who has previously participated in a conditional discharge, conditional dismissal, or supervisory treatment program (PTI). In addition, a person would not be eligible for conditional dismissal if the offense for which they are charged involved: organized criminal or gang activity; a continuing criminal business or enterprise; a breach of the public trust by a public officer or employee; domestic violence; an offense against an elderly, disabled or minor person; an offense involving driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug; animal cruelty; or any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under chapter 35 or 36 of the Criminal Code.