What is the Pretrial Intervention in NJ?
Pretrial intervention, more commonly known as PTI, is a diversionary program in New Jersey that will allow certain individuals charged with indictable (felony) offenses the ability to be removed from the traditional methods of prosecution and be placed on a probationary period. If the individual completes the probationary period is without violating any of the terms, the indictable (felony) charges will be dismissed outright. With that being said, not everyone and not every charge is eligible for this program. There is a rather lengthy process that must take place first before an individual can be placed into the program. If you have been arrested and charged with a felony offense like possession of heroin, burglary, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, marijuana distribution, eluding, criminal sexual contact, theft by deception or shoplifting, in Monmouth County our office may be able to help you get accepted into the PTI program. As you will see below, the rules that govern an individual’s eligibility for the PTI program are tough. As such, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced Monmouth County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your options. Hiring the right attorney, one who not only knows criminal law but one who knows how the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will react to certain charges, can go a long way in gaining entry into the program.
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our attorneys are well aware that no two clients and that no two cases are the same. That is why we encourage our clients to come in for a consultation so that we can address the specific facts of your case and craft a defense that will work best for their interests. Our office serves all of Monmouth County, including towns like Tinton Falls, Wall Township, Neptune City, Howell, Red Bank, Middletown, Ocean Township, Belmar, Asbury Park, Freehold and Marlboro. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your options then please contact us at (732)858-6959. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs, so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Am I Eligible for PTI in NJ?
Technically any “adult” who is charged with a felony offense in New Jersey may apply to the Pretrial Intervention Program (see directly above). Although individuals charged with violent and/or serious first and second degree felony offenses may not gain acceptance into PTI, they can still technically be eligible. The only true disqualifier is if an individual has previously participated in a diversionary program before. That includes diversionary programs in other States provided they would qualify as a diversionary program in New Jersey. So, any individual who has already participated in PTI, the Conditional Dismissal Program or the Conditional Discharge Program would be barred from PTI. Here are a few factors, which although may not be an automatic bar, do tend to be the underlying reason for a denial.
- A prior criminal conviction, whether in this State or any other State.
- Anyone who has already been on parole and/or probation.
- Anyone who lives outside of the State of New Jersey.
When determining whether or not an individual will be accepted into PTI in New Jersey, the prosecution and the criminal division shall weight the following factors addressed in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12e:
- 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; 6 See Section 4, infra, for consideration of the victim’s position. Page 5
- 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.
What types of Crimes normally get accepted into PTI in NJ?
As touched up earlier, anyone charged with a felony offense may apply for the Pretrial Intervention Program. With that being said, it is well known throughout the profession that barring very extenuating facts, individuals who are charged certain offenses will be disqualified. Some of the most common charges that we represent clients on who end up being accepted into the Pretrial Intervention Program in Monmouth County, include:
- Marijuana Distribution;
- Possession of Heroin;
- Possession of Cocaine;
- Aggravated Assault,
- Terroristic Threats;
- Receiving Stolen Property;
- Theft by Deception;
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child;
- Assault by Auto.
One other thing that is important to note here, this program is only for felony offenses. Anyone charged with a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense will not be eligible for this program. As of 2015, a new program called the Conditional Dismissal Program was created for anyone charged with a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense. For more information on that program please click the link.
What are the Benefits of PTI in NJ?
As stated at the beginning, the most important benefit of the PTI program is that an individual is given the opportunity to not only walk away from felony criminal charges without a criminal record but also without serving a day in jail as well. The term “opportunity” is used here because if an individual is accepted and does not complete the program without violating any of the terms, then the original charges will be reinstated and a violation of probation will be flied. In addition, if they violate the pretrial intervention program by getting re-arrested, then the individual will have to deal with those charges as well. So here is a quick breakdown of the benefits of the program:
- Potential for no record of conviction;.
- Rehabilitative services could be provided;
- There is no fines associated with PTI, only fees & assessments.
Criminal Defense Attorneys in Monmouth County NJ
Whether you have been charged with eluding, robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, aggravated assault, stalking or receiving stolen property, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our attorneys have been representing clients accused of various different offenses in courts throughout Monmouth County, including the following, the Holmdel Municipal Court, the Long Branch Municipal Court, the Union Beach Municipal Court, the West Long Branch Municipal Court, the Highlands Municipal Court, the Eatontown Municipal Court, the Keansburg Municipal Court and the Hazlet Municipal Court. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about whether or not you are eligible for the PTI program, then please contact us at (732)585-6959.