Bill Text: NJ S2331 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes procedures for individuals arrested for drug intoxication offenses to be transported to substance abuse treatment, and for municipal court to commit such individuals to treatment in lieu of prosecution.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2018-03-22 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S2331 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S2331-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2331

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 22, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  CHRIS A. BROWN

District 2 (Atlantic)

Senator  NICHOLAS P. SCUTARI

District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Vitale and Gill

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes procedures for individuals arrested for drug intoxication offenses to be transported to substance abuse treatment, and for municipal court to commit such individuals to treatment in lieu of prosecution.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning substance abuse treatment and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Any person who is arrested for a violation of a municipal ordinance or for a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense, and who the arresting police officer has reasonable cause to believe is under the influence of an intoxicating substance other than alcohol, may be taken by a police officer directly to a substance use disorder treatment center or other appropriate facility.  To determine whether or not such person is under the influence of an intoxicating substance, the police officer may request the person to submit to any reasonable test, including, but not limited to, tests of the person's coordination, coherency of speech, and breath.

     The administrator of any substance use disorder treatment center, or of any other facility, shall cause any such person to be examined by a physician or by a medically competent individual designated by the Department of Health and under the supervision of a physician.  If the physician or any other medically competent individual designated by the department determines upon examination that such person is under the influence of an intoxicating substance other than alcohol, and the administrator determines that adequate and appropriate treatment is available, the person shall be admitted.  Any such person may be detained at the center or other facility until the person is no longer under the influence of an intoxicating substance, but in any event, not longer than 48 hours from the date of admission.  At such time as the person is to be discharged from the facility, the person shall be informed by the administrator that if the person is a person with an substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment the person may, in the discretion of the court, be afforded treatment in lieu of prosecution, and that if the person so chooses the person may be examined at the facility for the purpose of determining whether the person is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment.  If the person requests an examination, the person shall be examined by a physician at the facility during a period of time not to exceed 48 hours.  The police shall maintain such security conditions as may be necessary.  Prior to releasing the person from the center or other facility, the administrator shall notify the police, who shall transport the person therefrom for proceedings in the case.

     When a person who is arrested for a violation of a municipal ordinance or for a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense is brought before the court on such charge, the court shall inform the person that the person is entitled to request a medical examination to determine whether or not the person has a substance use disorder if the person has been admitted to a facility pursuant to the provisions of the preceding paragraph and has not received a medical examination by a physician.  The court shall further inform the defendant of the consequences which follow a determination by a physician that the person is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment.  Any request for an examination shall be in writing.  If the person makes such request, the proceedings shall be stayed for the period during which the request is under consideration by the court.  If the defendant requests an examination, the court shall appoint a physician to conduct the examination at an appropriate location designated by it.

     In no event shall a request for an examination, any statement made by the defendant during the course of an examination or any finding of a physician pursuant to the provisions of this section be admissible against the defendant in any proceeding.

     A physician who conducts an examination pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall determine whether or not the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment.  The physician shall report the findings to the court together with the facts upon which the findings are based and the reasons therefor as soon as possible but in any event not longer than three days after the completion of the examination.

     If the physician reports that the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the court shall inform the defendant that the defendant may request commitment to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Department of Health and advise the person of the consequences of the commitment.

     If the defendant requests commitment, and if the court finds that the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the court may stay the criminal proceeding and commit the defendant to the division as an inpatient or as an outpatient, whichever the court deems appropriate, for a specified period.  The term of inpatient treatment shall not exceed 30 days, the term of outpatient treatment shall not exceed 60 days, and the total combined period of commitment, including both inpatient and outpatient treatment, if both are ordered, shall not exceed 90 days.  The court shall inform the defendant that if the defendant is committed the proceeding will be stayed for the term of the commitment.

     In determining whether or not to grant the request for commitment, the court shall consider the report of the physician, the nature of the offense with which the defendant is charged, the past criminal record, if any, of the defendant, and any other relevant evidence.

     If the court decides that the defendant's request for commitment should be granted, the court shall commit the defendant to the division if the division reports that adequate and appropriate treatment is available at a facility; provided, however, that if the court determines that commitment should be granted and the defendant is charged with a first offense, the proceedings shall be stayed until adequate and appropriate treatment is available at a facility.  In cases where the defendant is not charged with a first offense and the division reports that adequate and appropriate treatment is not available, the court may, in its discretion, order that the stay of the proceeding remain outstanding until such time as adequate and appropriate treatment is available.

     As a condition to the issuance of any commitment order by the court pursuant to the provisions of this section, the defendant shall consent in writing to the terms of the commitment.

     If the physician reports that the defendant is not a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the defendant shall be entitled to request a hearing to determine whether the person is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment.  Thereupon the court may, of its own motion, or shall upon the request of the defendant or the defendant's counsel, appoint an independent physician to examine the defendant and to testify at the hearing.  If the court determines that the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the procedures and standards applicable to a defendant who is determined by the court, following the report of the first examining physician to be a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, shall apply to the defendant.

     If the court does not order that the defendant shall be afforded treatment in lieu of prosecution pursuant to the provisions of this section, the stay of the proceedings shall be vacated.

     At any time during the term of commitment, the administrator may transfer any inpatient to an outpatient program if the administrator finds that the patient is a proper subject for outpatient treatment; provided, however, that the administrator may retransfer the patient to an inpatient program if the administrator finds that the person is not suitable for outpatient treatment.

     Any patient committed to the division pursuant to this section shall be discharged from the facility to which the division has caused the patient to be admitted if at any time the administrator determines that treatment will no longer benefit the patient; provided, however, that such patient shall in any event be discharged at the termination of the period of commitment specified in the court order.

     At the end of the commitment period, when the patient is discharged, or when the patient terminates treatment at the facility, whichever first occurs, the Director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Department of Health shall report to the court on whether or not the defendant successfully completed the treatment program, together with a statement of the reasons for the director's conclusion.  In reaching the determination of whether or not the defendant successfully completed the treatment program, the director shall consider, but shall not be limited to, whether the defendant cooperated with the administrator and complied with the terms and conditions imposed on the defendant during the commitment.  If the report states that the defendant successfully completed the treatment program, the court shall dismiss the charges pending against the defendant.  If the report does not so state, or if the defendant has not completed the term of commitment ordered by the court, then, based on the report and any other relevant evidence, the court may take such action as it deems appropriate, including the dismissal of the charges or the revocation of the stay of the proceedings.  In the event that the court convicts a defendant who has been committed in lieu of prosecution pursuant to the provisions of this section and sentences the defendant to a term of incarceration, the court shall reduce the term of incarceration by the period during which the defendant was afforded treatment in lieu of prosecution pursuant to this section.

     The State, municipal, and local police shall, in cooperation with the department, provide temporary security at facilities to which persons are taken pursuant to this section, where it is necessary that such security be provided for the person arrested.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately, and shall apply to any charges brought on or after the effective date.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes requirements and procedures for certain individuals arrested while under the influence of an intoxicating substance to be transported or committed to a substance use disorder treatment center.

     Specifically, when a law enforcement officer believes that a person who was arrested for a violation of a municipal ordinance or for a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense is under the influence of an intoxicating substance other than alcohol, the officer may take the person directly to a substance use disorder treatment center or other appropriate facility, and may request that the person submit to reasonable testing to determine if the person is intoxicated.  The person will be examined at the facility by a physician or other medically competent individual designated by the Department of Health (DOH).  If the examination finds that the person is intoxicated, and the administrator of the facility determines that adequate and appropriate treatment is available, the person will be admitted to the facility, and may be detained until the person is no longer intoxicated, for a maximum period not to exceed 48 hours. 

     The administrator is to inform the person, upon discharge, that the person may be afforded treatment in lieu of prosecution by the court if the person has a substance use disorder, and that if the person so chooses, the facility will examine the person to determine whether the person has a substance use disorder and would benefit by treatment.  If the person requests an examination at the facility, the examination is to take place within 48 hours.  The police are to maintain such security conditions at the facility as may be necessary and provide the person with transportation to court proceedings.

     When the defendant appears before the court to answer the charge, the court will inform the defendant that, if the defendant was not examined at the facility, the defendant is entitled to request a medical examination to determine whether the defendant has a substance use disorder, and inform the defendant of the consequences if a physician finds the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment.  Any request for an examination is to be made by the defendant in writing.  If the defendant requests an examination, the proceedings are stayed and the court will appoint a physician to examine the defendant at an appropriate designated location.

     In no event will a request for an examination, any statement made by the defendant during the course of an examination, or any finding of a physician be admissible against the defendant in any proceeding.

     The examining physician is to determine whether the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment and report those findings to the court no later than three days after the examination is completed. 

     If the physician reports that the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the court is to inform the defendant that the defendant may request commitment to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the DOH, and advise the defendant of the consequences of commitment.  If the physician reports that the defendant is not a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the defendant may request a hearing to determine whether the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, and will, upon request or upon the court's own motion, be appointed an independent physician, who will examine the defendant and testify at the hearing.  If the court determines that the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the court is to inform the defendant that the defendant may request commitment to the division and advise the defendant of the consequences of commitment.

     If the defendant requests commitment, and if the court finds that the defendant is a person with a substance use disorder who would benefit by treatment, the court may stay the criminal proceeding and commit the defendant to the division as an inpatient or as an outpatient, whichever the court deems appropriate, for a specified period not to exceed 30 days for inpatient treatment, 60 days for outpatient treatment, or 90 total days for both inpatient and outpatient commitment.  In determining whether to grant the request for commitment, the court is to consider the report of the physician, the nature of the charged offense, the defendant's past criminal record, if any, and any other relevant evidence.  As a condition of the court issuing a commitment order, the defendant will be required to consent in writing to the terms of the commitment.

     If the court decides that the defendant's request for commitment should be granted, the court will commit the defendant to the division if the division reports that adequate and appropriate treatment is available at a facility; if the charged offense is a first offense, or in the court's discretion if it is not a first offense, the proceedings will be stayed until adequate and appropriate treatment is available at a facility. 

     If the court does not order the defendant to treatment in lieu of prosecution, the stay of the proceedings will be vacated.

     At any time during the term of commitment, the administrator may transfer an inpatient to an outpatient program if the administrator finds that the patient is a proper subject for outpatient treatment; provided, however, that the administrator may retransfer the patient to an inpatient program if the administrator finds that the person is not suitable for outpatient treatment.

     A committed patient will be discharged from the commitment facility at the end of the court-ordered commitment period or if, at any time, the administrator determines that treatment will no longer benefit the patient.

     At the end of the commitment period, when the patient is discharged, or when the patient terminates treatment at the facility, whichever occurs first, the Director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services is to report to the court on whether the defendant successfully completed the treatment program.  In determining whether the defendant successfully completed the program, the director is to consider, but not be limited to, whether the defendant cooperated with the administrator and complied with the terms and conditions imposed on the defendant during the commitment.  If the report states that the defendant successfully completed the treatment program, the court is to dismiss the charges pending against the defendant.  If the report does not so state, or if the defendant has not completed the term of commitment ordered by the court, then, based on the report and any other relevant evidence, the court may take such action as it deems appropriate, including the dismissal of the charges or the revocation of the stay of the proceedings.  In the event that the court convicts a defendant who has been committed in lieu of prosecution and sentences the defendant to a term of incarceration, the term of incarceration will be reduced by the period during which the defendant was afforded treatment in lieu of prosecution.

     The State, municipal, and local police, in cooperation with the department, will provide temporary security at facilities to which persons are taken pursuant to the bill, when it is necessary that such security be provided for the person arrested.

     The procedures established under this bill are based on current laws that allow person arrested for alcohol intoxication to be transported to an alcohol use disorder treatment center following arrest and committed by a municipal court to an alcohol use disorder treatment center in lieu of prosecution.

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