What is the Pretrial Intervention Program in New Jersey?
Pretrial Intervention, also known as PTI, is a diversionary program in New Jersey whereby if the Defendant successfully completes the program, the pending felony charges will be dismissed outright. This program was created to afford certain Defendant’s the opportunity to bypass the traditional methods of prosecution and be placed on a probationary period whereby if they complete the terms they will be rewarded with a dismissal of the charges. This program is typically for first time, low level, non-violent offenders. With that being said, unless the Defendant is facing a first degree felony or they have previously benefited from a diversionary program before, they will not be automatically barred. If you have been arrested and charged with a felony offense in Somerset or Hunterdon County and you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about the possibility of partaking in the PTI program, then please contact us at 908-533-1064. Our Somerset County criminal defense attorneys are available immediately to discuss your options. We serve all of Hunterdon and Somerset County, including towns like Raritan, Readington, Clinton, Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Hillsborough, Manville, Flemington and Somerville.
What are the Benefits of Pretrial Intervention in NJ?
As touched upon earlier, if a Defendant is placed into the PTI program they will be afforded the opportunity to walk away from these otherwise life changing felony criminal charges, without a record let alone without ever serving a day in jail. So the Defendant will be able to avoid the stigma that follows after being labeled as a convicted felon. One other perk of the program is that special rehabilitative conditions could be imposed by the Judge. Those conditions could help correct any potential drug and/or behavioral issues that may exist before it is to late. Furthermore, partaking in PTI will also prevent the criminal case from being dragged out for years as it winds its way through the court system. So, as you can see, their are many perks of the PTI program.
Who is Eligible for Pretrial Intervention in NJ?
In order to be eligible for the PTI program in New Jersey, a Defendant must first be charged with a felony criminal offense. Anyone charged with a disorderly persons offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, would not be eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program. With that being said, there is a similar program in Municipal Court known as the Conditional Dismissal Program. Next, the Defendant must be charged with a either a second, third or fourth degree felony offense within the County in which they are applying. Traditionally, a Defendant who has a prior criminal record or who lives outside of the State may be denied entry. However, those factors are not absolute bars. If the Defendant is seeking admission into the program they must first apply and be interviewed by the criminal division. Once the interview is conduct both the criminal division and the prosecutor will balance the factors enumerated in NJSA 2C:43-12(e) (please see below). Based on those factors, a decision will be rendered. If the Defendant is accepted into the program then they will be formally placed into it by the Judge at the next scheduled court appearance. At that point in time, the Defendant will be advised of what, if any, special conditions will be imposed (ie anger management, drugs / alcohol monitoring, rehabilitation etc.) and how long the program will run for. A Defendant could be placed into the PTI program for up to three years. If the Defendant is denied by the criminal division, the prosecution may override their decision but that is not typical. If both the criminal division and the prosecution has denied the Defendant’s entry, then an appeal may be filed. For more information on the PTI program please contact our Somerset County office at 908-533-1064.
What Factors Do they Consider for PTI?
Pursuant to NJSA 2C:43-12(e), the following factors must be analyzed when determining whether or not a Defendant is eligible for PTI in New Jersey.
- The nature of the offense;
- The facts of the case;
- The motivation and age of the 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.
What types of Charges Typically get PTI in NJ?
Some of the most common crimes that we see Defendant’s being admitted into the PTI program on include but are not limited too:
- Theft by Deception
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault by Auto
Pretrial Intervention Program in NJ
If you have been charged with a felony offense in Somerset or Hunterdon County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our criminal defense attorneys have dedicated their entire careers to defending those accused of crimes in courts throughout New Jersey, including Somerset and Hunterdon County. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, w are well aware that no two clients, let alone no two cases are the same. As such, we take a tremendous amount of pride in being able to adapt our representation in order to fulfill our clients needs. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation today with one of our criminal defense attorneys, then please contact us at 908-533-1064. We frequently appear in courts in towns like Bridgewater, Franklin, Bedminster, Bernards, Manville, West Amwell, Warren, North Plainfield and Watchung.