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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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What to Expect as a First-Time Offender

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Everyone makes mistakes. Occasionally, these mistakes can land a person in a situation could have them facing criminal charges. The state of New Jersey, as with many other states, has diversionary programs in place that serve to help those who have committed a crime reconcile with their crime without necessarily having to endure court or prison time. The idea behind these programs is that a person can be reconditioned and kept from committing more crime without having to endure the same process as someone with a more extensive track of criminal activity. The state of New Jersey has three programs for first time offenders:

Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI)

PTI is a diversionary program that applied to low-grade felonies of the third or fourth-degree. In the event that a PTI is successful, many costs tied to a formal court process are invalidated. Moreover, there is no record of conviction so as to spare the first-time offender of a tarnished record.

Conditional Discharge Program (Section 36)

This program applied to disorderly drug offenses and misdemeanors. Like the PTI, the first-time offender can be spared a tarnished record and is targeted towards first-time offenders without previous substance convictions such as drug possession. Probation may be a component and can last anywhere from one to three years.

Conditional Dismissal Program

The newest of the three, this program is targeted to those who have a petty disorderly person’s offense. It involves one year of probation. If successfully completed, the first-time offender can be spared a tarnished record.


Everyone makes mistakes, and in some cases, these small mistakes could turn a person’s life upside down. Employment can be difficult to establish and opportunities in life dwindle. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges as a first time offender, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can fight for you. Contact the law office of John W Tumelty today to schedule a consultation and discuss your rights and options as a first time offender.  Call 609-390-4600 or use the online contact form.

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