N.J. DWI or Penna ARD Not a Bar to PTI – State v. McKeon

This morning’s Appellate Division decision in State v. McKeon makes it clear that the statutory bar to admission into PTI based upon a prior diversion from the criminal justice system only applies to diversions that occurred in New Jersey. In McKeon, the defendant sought diversion from a criminal charge in New Jersey through PTI. His application was denied based upon a prior diversion in Pennsylvania on a first offense DWI through that state’s ARD program. The defendant also had a second DWI in Pennsylvania following his ARD diversion.

The State argued that the prior diversion under ARD in Pennsylvania constituted a statutory bar to PTI in the same way that a conditional discharge or prior PTI disposition would bar a later entry into PTI.

The Appellate Division ruled that a diversion that occurs in another state does not constitute a statutory bar to PTI. Only a prior PTI or conditional discharge granted in New Jersey would be regarded as such a bar.

Moreover the Court reasoned that under New Jersey law, a drunk driving offense would not statutorily disqualify a defendant from PTI consideration since DWI is not considered an offense within the meaning of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. Since a DWI in New Jersey would not disqualify a defendant from PTI, there is no logical reason why a DWI in Pennsylvania should serve as a statutory bar either.

Download a copy of State v. McKeon.

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