Does My Record from Another State Carry Over into NJ?

NJ Criminal Charge with Out of State Record

I have a record in another state. Will it carry over to New Jersey?

Yes, New Jersey law enforcement and courts have access to all of your prior criminal convictions, even if they are from another state. This is important because prior convictions from other states may affect your eligibility for diversionary programs in New Jersey that are available for first time offenders. A prior conviction out of state can also impact your sentencing if you’re convicted of a crime in New Jersey. Our experienced NJ criminal defense lawyers are often asked these questions by clients who have been charged with new criminal offenses in New Jersey.

Am I eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) if I have a conviction from another state?

New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program is available to certain defendants (usually first time offenders) charged with indictable offenses and provides an alternative to ordinary prosecution in the criminal justice system, focusing on rehabilitation needs and services.

One of the most significant benefits of PTI is that upon successful completion of the program, you will not have a criminal record. Given the serious consequences that a criminal conviction can have on employment and so many other areas of life, the ability to participate in PTI and successfully complete the program is a huge benefit.

If you have a conviction from another state, it will affect your eligibility for PTI if the crime you were convicted of is similar to a crime that exists in New Jersey. However, if New Jersey does not have any similar law, then you may still be eligible, despite your prior conviction in another state.

Can I get into the Conditional Discharge Program with a prior record from outside of NJ?

Conditional discharge is another diversionary program available in New Jersey for first time drug offenders. If eligible, the program may allow you to serve probation and have your charges dismissed with no record of a drug conviction. However, if you have a prior drug conviction in New Jersey or from another state that involves a disorderly persons offense relating to marijuana or a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drug, you will not be eligible for the program.

Can I use the NJ Conditional Dismissal Program if I was previously convicted out of state?

New Jersey’s conditional dismissal program allows first time offenders charged with certain disorderly persons offenses such as shoplifting, to participate in a diversion in order to avoid a conviction. Participants must fulfill all conditions placed on them during a period of supervision. If they do so successfully, the charges against them will be dismissed. If you have been convicted of an offense or crime in any jurisdiction, including another state, you will not be eligible for the program.

How does a criminal record from another state affect sentencing for New Jersey charges?

In New Jersey, offenses are classified as indictable offenses—which carry sentences of at least one year in prison—or disorderly persons offenses. Most states classify these as felonies or misdemeanors. According to sentencing guidelines in New Jersey, if you have been convicted of a prior indictable offense, the court can impose a harsher sentence on you in a subsequent criminal proceeding.

If you were convicted of a crime in another state, the court will have this information and will consider the conviction a prior crime for sentencing purposes if the crime was of a substantially similar nature to a crime in New Jersey. Under New Jersey law, a prior conviction of a crime is defined as one that carried the potential for over 6 months imprisonment in that jurisdiction.

I was charged with a crime in NJ and I have a record from another state, what should I do?

If you are currently facing criminal charges in New Jersey and have a prior conviction in another state, consult an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer right away. The highly knowledgeable criminal attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm can help you to determine if your prior conviction will affect your eligibility for diversionary programs in New Jersey and how it would impact sentencing if you’re ultimately convicted. We will provide you with a free consultation about your specific situation and explain possible defense strategies that can be used to get your charges dismissed. Contact us today at (201)-556-1570 or send us a message online for more information.


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Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

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