What is Pretrial Intervention Program in NJ?
Being charged with a felony criminal offense like possession of heroin, aggravated assault, theft by deception, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute or burglary can be extremely stressful. The fear of being convicted and sentenced to jail for a very long time would stress anyone out. New Jersey has created several diversionary programs over the years that individuals charged with certain felony offenses may be able to take advantage of. The Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) is a diversionary program in New Jersey whereby a Defendant would be diverted from the traditional methods of prosecution and placed on a probationary period. If the Defendant was able to successfully complete the diversionary program without violating any of the terms, the charges will be outright dismissed. This program could be a lifesaver to so many, however, only certain specific Defendant’s will be eligible. For more information on who is eligible for the PTI program, please either see below or contact our office at (609)789-0779.
If you have been charged with eluding, burglary, receiving stolen property, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, robbery, lewdness, unlawful possession of a weapon, in Mercer County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorneys who possess the skill set necessary to make sure a simple mistake does not ruin the rest of your life. We are well aware of what a criminal conviction let alone being incarcerated can do to one’s life. If you would like to come into our office for a free initial consultation then please contact us directly at (609)789-0779. Our office serves all of Mercer County, including towns like Hamilton, Trenton, East Windsor, Princeton, West Windsor, Lawrence, Robbinsville and Ewing. For more information on the PTI program, please see below.
How does the Pretrial Intervention Program Work in NJ?
If a Defendant is charged with a felony (indictable) offense in New Jersey and would like to gain entry into the Pretrial Intervention Program, they would need to make a formal application with the Mercer County criminal division. The criminal division’s office will interview the applicant and then based on the interview, make a recommendation of whether the Defendant should be accepted or not. Then the prosecutor assigned to the case will review the interview, the facts of the case and make a recommendation as well. If the Defendant is accepted, then the Judge will formally enroll the Defendant into the program. They will place the Defendant on a probationary period where they will be required to complete certain conditions. If the Defendant completes the probationary period without violating any of the terms then the Judge will formally dismiss the charges. However, if the Defendant fails to complete any of the terms then the charges will be put back on the docket and would need to litigated. If the Defendant is denied outright, then they will have the right to appeal that denial.
What types of charges are eligible for Pretrial Intervention in NJ?
A Defendant accused of a second, third or fourth degree felony charge is technically eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program. However, violent offenses tend to get scrutinized more than others. Here is a list of some of the most common charges accepted into the PTI program in Mercer County NJ:
- Aggravated Assault;
- Heroin Possession;
- Marijuana Distribution;
- Cocaine Possession;
- Terroristic Threats;
- Drug Possession;
- Criminal Sexual Contact;
- Receiving Stolen Property.
In order for a Defendant to be accepted into the PTI program on second degree felony charges or an act of domestic violence, the Defendant would be required to enter a plea of guilty first. The guilty plea will be held in abeyance pending successful completion of the program. If a Defendant does in fact violate the terms, then the charges would not need to be re-litigated and all that is left is for the Defendant to be sentenced on the underlying charges.
What Factors do they take into Consideration when Determining if a Defendant will be accepted in PTI?
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12e, the prosecution must consider all of the factors addressed below when making a determination if a Defendant is eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program. The prosecutor has a lot of discretion when making this determination. Here is a list of the factors:
- The nature of the offense;
- The facts of the case;
- The motivation and age of defendant;
- The desire of the complainant or victim to forego prosecution;
- The existence of personal problems and character traits that maybe related to defendant’s crime and for which services are unavailable within the criminal justice system, or that maybe provided more effectively through supervisory treatment and the probability that the causes of criminal behavior can be controlled by proper treatment;
- The likelihood that defendant’s crime is related to a condition or situation that would be conducive to change through participation in supervisory treatment;
- The needs and interests of the victim and society;
- The extent to which defendant’s crime constitutes part of a continuing pattern of anti-social behavior;
- Defendant’s record of criminal and penal violations and the extent to which he or she 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 defendant’s criminal act;
- The history of the use of physical violence toward others;
- Any involvement of defendant 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 defendant’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 or her case through traditional criminal justice system procedures;
- Whether or not defendant’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.
Criminal Lawyers in Mercer County NJ
The Pretrial Intervention Program is amazing program that could really help erase a bad mistake or a split second lack of judgment. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Mercer County, in towns like Lawrence, Hopewell, Robbinsville, Trenton, Ewing or Princeton and would like to discuss your chances of being accepted into the PTI program then please contact us at (609)789-0779. Our Mercer County criminal defense attorneys are available around the clock to help assist in anyway that we can. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs, so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.