Pre-Trial Intervention in New Jersey | Criminal Defense Lawyer Hamilton, NJ
What Is Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-Trial Intervention, or “PTI,” is a diversionary program for first-time criminal offenders. If you have never been convicted of an indictable criminal offense, and have never participated in any other first-offender’s program, you may be eligible for PTI. If you are admitted to PTI, you will be placed on a period of probation for up to 36 months (3 years). During that period of time, you will have to abide by certain conditions, such as completing community service, attending counseling, meeting with your probation officer, paying restitution if ordered by the Court, etc. Once you have completed all the terms of your probation successfully, the charges against you will be dismissed. Six months following the dismissal, you are eligible to have your arrest record expunged, leaving you with no criminal record whatsoever.
Were you recently arrested in Trenton, Hamilton, Princeton, Ewing, or anywhere else in Mercer County, NJ? An experienced Hamilton criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for PTI in your criminal case.
What Types of Charges Qualify for the PTI Program in Mercer County, NJ?
Under New Jersey law, any indictable criminal charge is technically eligible for participation in PTI. However, realistically speaking, there are some charges that make it much less likely that you would be allowed to enter the program. For instance, there is a presumption against admission to PTI for anyone who was a public officer or employee whose offense touched upon his public office or employment. Likewise, if you have been charged with any crime or offense involving domestic violence and you were subject to a temporary or final restraining order at the time of the offense, there is a presumption against your admission to PTI.
In general, someone who is admitted to PTI is not required to enter a guilty plea prior to his or her admission to the program. However, like any general rule, there are exceptions. The following types of defendants must enter a guilty plea before being admitted to PTI:
- A defendant charged with a first or second degree crime;
- A defendant charged with any crime if the defendant had previously been convicted of a first or second degree crime;
- A defendant charged with a third or fourth degree crime involving domestic violence; and
- A defendant charged with any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence, if the defendant committed the offense while subject to a temporary or final restraining order.
What Factors Are Considered When Determining Whether to Admit a Defendant to PTI in Trenton, NJ?
The following criteria are considered by PTI program directors and prosecutors when formulating their recommendation on a PTI application:
- The nature of the offense;
- The facts of the case;
- The motivation and age of the defendant;
- The desire of the complainant or victim to forego prosecution;
- The existence of personal problems and character traits which may be related to the applicant’s crime and for which services are unavailable within the criminal justice system, or which may be provided more effectively through supervisory treatment and the probability that the cause of criminal behavior can be controlled by proper treatment;
- The likelihood that the applicant’s crime is related to a condition or situation that would be conducive to change through his participation in supervisory treatment;
- The needs and interests of the victim and society;
- The extent to which the applicant’s crime constitutes part of a continuing pattern of antisocial behavior;
- The applicant’s record of criminal and penal violations and the extent to which he may present a substantial danger to others;
- Whether or not the crime is of an assaultive or violent nature, whether in the criminal act itself or in the possible injurious consequences of such behavior;
- Consideration of whether or not prosecution would exacerbate the social problem that led to the applicant’s criminal act;
- The history of the use of physical violence toward others;
- Any involvement of the applicant with organized crime;
- Whether or not the crime is of such a nature that the value of supervisory treatment would be outweighed by the public need for prosecution;
- Whether or not the applicant’s involvement with other people in the crime charged or in other crime is such that the interest of the State would be best served by processing his case through traditional criminal justice system procedures;
- Whether or not the applicant’s participation in pretrial intervention will adversely affect the prosecution of codefendants; and
- Whether or not the harm done to society by abandoning criminal prosecution would outweigh the benefits to society from channeling an offender into a supervisory treatment program.
What Are the Benefits to Being Enrolled in PTI?
Admission to PTI can be extremely beneficial to a criminal defendant. Since only first-time offenders are allowed to participate in PTI, and successful completion of the program means that the charges against you will be dismissed, in the long run participating in PTI allows you to keep your criminal record clean. An additional benefit is that 6 months after the charges have been dismissed, you can petition for an expungement, which means that you can clear the arrest from your record as well. Not having a criminal record can be extremely helpful in obtaining employment, housing, etc.
Are These PTI Diversionary Programs for Everyone?
No, diversionary programs are not for everyone. In order to be admitted to PTI or the Conditional Dismissal program, you must not have been previously convicted of a crime or disorderly persons offense and must never have been admitted to any of the three diversionary programs in the past. In order to be admitted to the Conditional Discharge program, you must never have been convicted of any drug offense and must never have been admitted to any of the three diversionary programs in the past.
Free Consultation with a Robbinsvile Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Eligibility for PTI in New Jersey
Facing criminal charges in Mercer County or Burlington County, NJ? You may be eligible for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) that could keep you out of jail. The Law Offices of Lauren E. Scardella can assist you. Call (609) 587-1144 or fill out the online contact form. We have an office located at 2653 Nottingham Way STE 1, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.