When you are placed on probation or a similar restriction in New Jersey, you may not be able to do some of the things that you would normally do. In some circumstances, drinking alcohol is among them. Below we take a look at various types of restrictions that may be in place while on probation, Pre-Trial Intervention, conditional discharge, or another alternative sentencing option in New Jersey.
Is Drinking Allowed while on Probation?
Being placed on probation is essentially a way to avoid jail or prison for a criminal offense. However, you have to meet certain requirements to remain on probation. If you fail to meet those standards, you may be violated by your probation officer. Once a probation violation has been alleged, you must appear before a judge for a probation violation hearing. If you are found to have violated one of the terms, you may end up going to jail, sometimes for as long as your original sentence may have been. Other possible outcomes include extending the probationary term or imposing new restrictions.
Restrictions on how much you can drink are fairly common terms associated with probation in New Jersey. Specifically, you are not to have “excessive” alcohol. You can usually have one or two drinks, but it is important to specifically talk to your probation officer about drinking to avoid accidentally breaking any rules. If the crime that resulted in probation was related to alcohol, then your ability to drink will likely be further limited.
Can I Drink in the Pre-trial Intervention Program (PTI) Program?
Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) is a program that is available to some first-time offenders in New Jersey. Their crimes must be non-violent and typically classified as third or fourth degree indictable offenses. The program is available to some individuals, allowing them to avoid the significant negative consequences of having a criminal record. However, like probation, PTI has certain terms and requirements that must be met while in the program. One of those requirements may be that you have to restrict your alcohol consumption or undergo periodic drug and alcohol evaluations in compliance with a treatment program.
Alcohol Consumption & Conditional Discharge
Another option that is available for first-time offenders charged with certain disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey is called “conditional discharge.” This program allows an individual to avoid a judgment or conviction and the resulting criminal record. During conditional discharge, all proceedings are suspended and the person is placed under a status that is similar to probation. Conditional discharge may require that you undergo periodic drug testing, but alcohol is not monitored nearly as closely. However, the terms will likely be similar to probation, which means the requirement to avoid “excessive” drinking may be still be in place.
Notably, conditional discharge is not available to those who are charged with DWI. While a person charged with drunk driving is not prohibited from drinking if they are ultimately convicted of the offense, you will be required to attend alcohol education classes at a state-approved Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). In addition, under certain circumstances, an ignition interlock device may be mandatory to install in your vehicle during the period of license suspension and for six months after license restoration. If you have an interlock, you will not be able to start or drive your car until blowing into the machine, which tests the amount of alcohol in your blood.
Have Questions after being Charged with a Crime? Get Help from an Experienced Morristown Criminal Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime, you need answers from a knowledgeable source. Our criminal defense attorneys in Morristown, NJ have the experience to help you work through these complicated issues, as we have provided defense in municipal and superior courts throughout Morris County for years. Get in touch today to receive a free consultation.