One the best options for resolving an indictable offense is to seek admission into Pretrial Intervention. This program, which is also referred to as PTI, allows an individual charged with a third degree or fourth degree crime to avoid prosecution and the potential consequences of a felony conviction. There are, however, strict eligibility requirements to Pretrial Intervention so it is always advisable for anyone serious about gaining admission to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal attorney. At Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver, we possess a team of seasoned defense lawyers who have handled literally thousands of eligible charges in Monmouth County during their over 100 combined years in practice. If you were arrested for shoplifting, marijuana distribution, possession of heroin, terroristic threats or another violation, we are here to help you secure PTI. An attorney is available immediately any time of day or night in our Freehold Office to guide you through the process. Call us at 732-462-1197 for a free consultation.
Criteria for Admission into Pretrial Intervention
The requirements of PTI are focused primarily on the isolated nature of the criminal behavior by the accused. If the conduct is part of a pattern of conduct then the applicant is not a candidate for Pretrial Intervention. With this in mind, there are several considerations that are outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12 (“Statewide pretrial intervention program; admission criteria; time for referral; denial and appeal; program monitoring”) for admission, including:
- The Nature of the Offense. An offense is ineligible if it represents a first or second degree crime, involves distribution of CDS, or carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility like possession of a firearm without a permit.
- Facts of the Case. Where facts are particularly alarming, they will undermine admission. Examples where this comes up on a recurring basis are possession of child pornography and other third and fourth degree sex related offenses.
- Motivation & Age of the Defendant
- Position of the Victim. The desire of the complainant and/or victim is a consideration as the public needs to know that someone shall be punished for injurious conduct and that future misconduct is deterred.
- Likelihood of Success. If the accused has personal issues that threaten rehabilitation, this may be a basis for denial.
- Prior Record. A prior criminal record will typically result in a rejection from the program although it is not an absolute bar. A prior record creates a presumption against Pretrial Intervention.
- Existence of Physical Violence. When a crime is committed with violence or a threat thereof, this can also result in denial and rejection of an applicant.
- Impact on Codefendant(s). A common basis for denial of PTI is “codefendant status”. The reason for this stems from the fact that successful completion of this program negates prosecution of the applicant in any subsequent proceeding involving the same conduct. If one defendant among several is granted admission then he or she can absolve codefendants after the fact without any threat of prosecution or penalty.
- Prior Diversion Program. An individual is ineligible for Pretrial Intervention if they have already participated in a diversion program, including Conditional Discharge.
Approval Process For PTI
An applicant ordinarily meets with a representative of probation or the court system as the first step of gaining admission into PTI in Monmouth County. This occurs at the Superior Court in Freehold, usually in conjunction with a Pre-Indictment Conference or Hearing. At that time, the accused is screened for eligibility into Pretrial Intervention. If there is a prior felony/indictable record or prior participation in a diversion program, the candidate is customarily rejected by probation. If the initial screening is passed, then the defendant is interviewed by probation for by the Program Director. Once this has occurred, the application is sent to the prosecutor for review. At this time, the application may be rejected or accept by the prosecutor. If an objection is filed, it can only be overturned if it is arbitrary; the decision must be a patent and gross abuse of discretion to be reversed on appeal.
Procedure After Admission
An individual is ordinarily place on one (1) year of supervised probation. During this period, certain conditions must be adhered to in order to successfully complete PTI including not committing any new offenses, remaining drug free and reporting to probation as directed. Failure to adhere to a condition can result in termination and restoration of the original charge.
Pretrial Intervention Attorneys in Freehold New Jersey
It is important to keep in mind that Pretrial Intervention is a privilege as opposed to a right. As such, prosecutors can be restrictive in their judgments when it comes to approving an application. This is something that you need to consider, especially when rejection will be given significant deference. It is therefore important that you hire a skilled lawyer if you want to avoid prosecution for your aggravated assault, obtaining CDS by fraud, assault by auto or cocaine possession charge. Toying with this process without assistance from attorneys who know the system is definitely in error because a denial is rarely overturned. An attorney at Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Marshall is here to make sure you never end up in this position. Call us for a free consultation at 732-462-1197.