New Jersey Issues Directive to Waive Mandatory Parole Disqualifiers for Six Non-Violent Drug Crimes

Back in November of 2019, the New Jersey Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission recommended eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug crimes. The commission also recommended modifying sentences for those currently incarcerated. As of April of 2021, the recommendation has been partially implemented by issuing AG Directive 2021-4 which instructed all prosecutors in New Jersey to waive mandatory parole disqualifier for six non-violent drug crimes including the following crimes:

  • Leader of a narcotics trafficking network
  • Distribution of CDS to persons under 18-years-old
  • Employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme
  • Maintaining or operating a facility producing a CDS
  • Manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS)
  • Distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to distribute CDS within 1,000 feet of a school

What does the Directive state?

The Directive states that the prosecutor shall agree to file a joint motion to amend the defendant sentences in the following circumstances when the incarcerated defendant requests:

  • The defendant is serving a sentence currently for a violation of the following crimes: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3, 2C:35-4, 2C:35-5, 2C:35-6, 2C:35-7, or 2C:35-8
  • The defendant remains ineligible for parole on the account of the parole disqualifier mandated by any of the offenses listed above.

The Directive says, “This Directive, therefore, establishes statewide rules that require prosecutors to seek the waiver of mandatory parole disqualifiers for non-violent drug crimes during plea negotiations, following a probation violation, and after conviction at trial. Where the defendant makes a request, prosecutors will also be required to file a joint application to modify the sentences of inmates currently incarcerated.” For more information, reach out to our firm today.

Inmates who request a sentence modification pursuant will file a form that will be forwarded to the County Prosecutor’s Office. It will be forwarded to the office that originally handled the case. The Prosecutor’s Office’s task will be to confirm the requestor’s eligibility for sentence modification.

It is important to note that the prosecutor reserves the right to argue that the court should impose a discretionary period of parole ineligibility on the grounds that the aggravating factors associated with the defendant’s offense outweigh the mitigating factors. This is in the case that the prosecutor does not seek a discretionary parole disqualifier any longer than the one imposed as part of the original sentence.

If you are searching for a criminal defense lawyer to fight for your rights, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today to discuss your options and schedule an initial consultation.

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