Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Criminal Justice Programs Self-Help

If you are facing criminal charges, one of these programs could help.

On This Page



The courts offer several programs to help people facing certain charges. These are intended for people who are first-time offenders, non-violent, and may have drug or alcohol addiction. 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The court system can be confusing, and it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services.

Legal Services of New Jersey maintains a directory of regional legal services offices or may be reached at (732)-572-9100.

The NJ State Bar Association also maintains a list of county referral services that might be helpful.

Things to Think about Before You Represent Yourself in Court

While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, help, or attention from the court. You must still comply with the Rules of the Court, even if you are not familiar with them. The following is a list of some things the court staff can and cannot do for you. Please read it carefully before asking the court staff for help. 

  • We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
  • We can tell you what the requirements are to have your case considered by the court.
  • We can give you some information from your case file.
  • We can provide you with samples of court forms that are available.
  • We can provide you with guidance on how to fill out forms.
  • We can usually answer questions about court deadlines.
  • We cannot give you legal advice. Only your lawyer can give you legal advice.
  • We cannot tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
  • We cannot give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
  • We cannot recommend a lawyer, but we can provide you with the telephone number of a local lawyer referral service.
  • We cannot talk to the judge for you about what will happen in your case.
  • We cannot let you talk to the judge outside of court.
  • We cannot change an order issued by a judge.

Recovery Court

Non-violent drug offenders might be eligible for recovery court. Read the recovery court brochure to see if the program is right for you. You can also visit the program page for more details.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Receive an assessment from a recovery court team.
  • Not have any previous convictions or pending charges.
  • Be willing to cooperate with the program’s rules. 

Program essentials include:

  • Regular court appearances.
  • Frequent, random drug testing. 
  • Detoxification, if necessary. 
  • Residential programs, if needed.
  • Intensive outpatient programs.
  • Individual and group counseling.
  • 12—step, self-help groups.
  • Relapse prevention. 
  • Sanctions and incentives. 
  • Community service requirements. 

Recovery court might be your best chance at avoiding jail time and defeating addiction 

Pretrial Intervention

PTI is a program available for some first-time offenders. Repeat offenders are ineligible. It is only available prior to conviction. If approved, you can avoid serving time. You must fully comply with the program. 

The program requires close supervision. You will have to report to your probation officer and follow the conditions of PTI. Use the application form to apply for PTI.

Visit the PTI page for more information on eligibility, program contacts and expungement.

Help for Veterans

There are two programs designed to help veterans who come into contact with the New Jersey court system.

The Veteran’s Diversion Program helps veterans struggling with addiction or mental illness. The court case is deferred while they receive help, such as mental health counseling, job placement, and addiction services. If the veteran completes the program, the judge could dismiss the charges and the case could be removed from the public record. Talk to your attorney if you are interested in the program. Read the brochure to learn more.

The Judiciary’s Veteran’s Assistance Program is not a diversion program. Court staff can refer veterans directly to their local veterans service office. Veterans can receive mental health counseling, addiction services, legal services, housing assistance, and mentoring. The program is voluntary. Speak to court staff if you are interested in this program.

Intensive Supervision Program

ISP is a program available to certain state inmates. It allows inmates to rejoin the community under close supervision. A panel of judges will review your application and your re-entry plan. Special probation offices will ensure that you follow the plan. It is intense and very strict. You need to be fully committed to the program to succeed. There are several types of crimes that do not qualify for ISP. 

Apply for ISP or visit our detailed program page.