Avoiding a Criminal Conviction through Diversion: Pretrial Intervention
If you have been charged with an Indictable Offense, you may be able to avoid a conviction through a program referred to as Pretrial Intervention ("PTI"). Those who are approved and admitted into PTI must complete a specified period of probation and their charges are dismissed upon successful completion thereof. The attorneys at our defense firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, have decades of experience handling applications for Pretrial Intervention and know the ins and outs of getting someone approved. One of our lawyers is ready to put the firms 100 plus years of collective knowledge to work for you. An attorney can be reached now at 1-877-450-8301 for a complimentary initial consultation. We also hope you find the information regarding PTI that follows of assistance.
New Jersey Pretrial Intervention Law & Associated Court Rule
PTI is a diversion program that permits an individual to avoid prosecution for a criminal offense by successfully completing a period of supervision (i.e. probation). The Law in NJ governing PTI is N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12 and the Court Rule that applies to Pretrial Intervention is Court Rule 3:28. These regulations generally provide as follows:
- Eligibility. A defendant is eligible for Pretrial Intervention if he or she: (1) has been charged with a Third Degree or Fourth Degree crime; (2) has not completed probation, incarceration or parole within the last 5 years; (3) has never had the benefit of participation in a diversionary program previously; and (4) the offense does not involve sale, distribution or possession of CDS with intent to distribute Schedule I or II drugs.
- Time to Apply. The application must be filed no later than 28 days of Indictment.
- First Degree, Second Degree & Drug Distribution Offenses. While a crime of the Second Degree, Drug Distribution involving a Scheduled I or Schedule II form of CDS, and First Degree crimes are not eligible for PTI, an application may be considered if the prosecutor consents.
- Categories of Crime Involving a Presumption Against Admission. In accordance with Pretrial Intervention Guideline 3, the following categories of crime typically should be excluded from admission into PTI: (i) organized criminal activity; or (2) continuing criminal business or enterprise; (3) those involving violent crime against another person; (4) breach of public trust; and (5) school zone drug distribution.
Disorderly Persons Offenses. A defendant charged with a disorderly persons offense may be admitted into PTI if the program in the county where the offense is pending provides for such eligibility. Some counties permit this process for Disorderly Person and Petty Disorderly Person charges and others do not.
Factors in Evaluating Whether an Eligible Candidate Should be Admitted into PTI
While an individual may be eligible for Pretrial Intervention, that is far from an assurance that he or she will ultimately be approved following review by probation and the prosecutor's office. This is where an experienced attorney like those at our firm can prove invaluable as it is difficult to overturn a PTI rejection. It is therefore extraordinarily important that an application is approved in the first instance and our lawyers know how to give someone the very best opportunity for approval. In this regard, PTI Guideline 3 enumerates the factors to be considered in determining whether an application should be approved. Some of the factors are nature of the offense, motivation of the defendant, position of the victim re prosecution, likelihood of success of applicant, his prior record, and co-defendant considerations.
Acceptance-Court procedures following acceptance. If a defendant is accepted and admitted into Pretrial Intervention, all proceedings on the related criminal complaint(s) is suspended until the term of probation, which cannot exceed thirty six (36) months, has expired. Provided the term expires satisfactory (i.e. the defendant adheres to all conditions of the PTI probation), an order dismissing the charge(s) is entered by the court. The defendant can then proceed with the process to Expunge an Arrest in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:52-6 so as to eliminate any record of the incident
Rejection. If either the prosecutor or probation rejects the application after consideration of the underlying facts and circumstances, a notice of rejection is issued. This notice is supposed to contain a statement of the reasons why an eligible candidate was rejected from PTI.
Request for Reconsideration. An applicant may file an application for reconsideratioin if his or her application was rejected by the prosecutor or by probation. The demand for reconsideration is to include additional facts or circumstances beyond what was originally considered.
Appealing a Rejection. An individual is provided with a right to appeal the rejection as outlined by Guideline 8. The appeal is heard by a Superior Court Judge in the County where the case is pending. The Judge may reverse the rejection and admit the applicant into Pretrial Intervention is he or she finds that the decision was a patent and gross abuse of discretion; the Judge cannot formulate his or her own decision but solely determine if the rejection was arbitrary, irrational or otherwise an abuse of discretion.
Violation or Termination of PTI. When an individual fails to adhere to the conditions of his or he PTI, a violation may be issued. There are a variety of reasons why a violation can be issued including a new arrest, submitting a "dirty" drug test or urine, failure to make restitution, or failure to undergo a court ordered evaluation (e.g. drug, alcohol, psychological, etc.). A superior court judge will thereafter conduct a hearing on the violation to determine whether Pretrial Intervention should be terminated. If the judge concludes that termination is unwarranted then PTI is reinstated. If it is not reinstated and the violation upheld, the participation in the program is terminated. The defendant must then answer to the underlying criminal charges as if Pretrial Intervention never took place.
We hope the information regarding Pretrial Intervention has been helpful and we encourage you to speak to one of our attorneys if you possess any additional questions or have yet to retain a lawyer. You should know that our defense team includes multiple former proscutors and is one of the largest in the state. Lawyers are always available 24/7 and initial consultations are without a fee. An attorney can be reached immediately at 1-877-450-8301.Monmouth County Office, 157 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ Middlesex County Office, 75 Paterson Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ Union County Office, 123 North Union Avenue, Cranford, NJ Morris County Offices, 55 Madison Avenue, Morristown & 2001 Route 46, Parsippany, NJ Ocean County Office, 29 Hadley Avenue, Toms River, NJ Hudson County Officer, 580 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ