Avoiding a Criminal Conviction through the Pretrial Intervention Program ("PTI")
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 or PTI. Those who are approved and admitted into PTI must complete a specified period of probation and their charges are dismissed upon successful completion. The attorneys at our New Jersey 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. Our team possesses:
- Over 200 years of combined experience representing clients seeking admission into the New Jersey Pretrial Intervention Program
- Ten lawyers who specialize exclusively in criminal defense
- Former county prosecutors that have served as Director of Major Crimes, Gun Task Force, Special Operations, Juvenile Unit, Drug Task Force and even an entire Trial Division
- Certified criminal trial attorneys
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 R. 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 (i.e. conditional dismissal, conditional discharge or PTI); 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 schedule 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; (2) continuing criminal business or enterprise; (3) those involving violent crimes 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 would not apply for diversion through PTI. The programs that provides] commensurate relief in municipal court where the charge is a disorderly persons offense are Conditional Discharge (e.g. drug-related offenses) and Conditional Dismissal (e.g. charges that do not involve CDS).
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 the nature of the offense, motivation of the defendant, the position of the victim re prosecution, the likelihood of success of the 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 reconsideration 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 if 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 determines 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 her 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.
Highly Accomplished Pretrial Intervention Lawyer in New Jersey
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 prosecutors 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.