Pretrial Intervention (PTI) and Drug Court Pre-trial Intervention
Pretrial Intervention is a diversion program for individuals charged with their first felony or misdemeanor offense. It gives an individual a chance to avoid a criminal record and resume a responsible position in society, if they complete the program successfully.
Application must be made to the State Attorney’s Office (SAO), by the client and his attorney. Persons residing out-of-state may request PTI; however a face-to-face meeting may be required. At the time of the initial interview, the client will be required to enter into a contract-style agreement between himself, his attorney, and the SAO. In the agreement, the client will be required to waive his right to speedy trial, agree to cooperate with supervision, agree to abide by the law, and agree to enter into counseling to address any case-related problems or behaviors. The agreement also requires that the client admit responsibility for the crime alleged. This admission cannot be used against the client if he or she fails to complete the PTI program, and is returned to the courtroom for further prosecution.
Acceptance into the PTI program requires approval by the SAO. The SAO will first review the application and conduct an investigation. The investigation will include a review of the client’s criminal record and the nature of the crime alleged. In addition, the SAO will request comment from both the arresting officer and the victim, if any. If a victim is involved, their consent is required in order for PTI to be approved. If any restitution is due, the client’s ability and willingness to pay is also taken into consideration.
PTI supervision lasts 12 months for misdemeanors and 18 months for felonies. The Department of Corrections (DOC) supervises felony cases and the Salvation Army supervises misdemeanor cases. During supervision, the client will be required to report once monthly to either of these agencies. Clients may pay their financial obligations in full at the beginning of their programs, but will be required to make monthly payments if they are not able to make a single lump sum. The PTI program will cost approximately $1,000 (misdemeanors) and $1,500 (felonies) for supervision fees. This is in addition to any amount that is due for restitution.
The client may be required to participate in counseling programs such as drug treatment, shoplifting awareness, life skills, anger management, etc. All clients will be required to undergo random drug testing, even if they were not charged with a drug-related crime. Those clients who were charged with a drug-related crime will be required to undergo both monthly and random drug testing.
PTI probation officers will require that a client’s employer be informed of the client’s participation in the program. Generally, probation officers have the responsibility to contact the client’s employer to ensure that they have been notified. Contact between the probation officer and the client may occur at the probation office, the client’s place of employment, or the client’s place of residence.
The probation officer will notify both the Court and the SAO once the client has successfully completed the program. The case will then be set for a final hearing with the Court and the client and his attorney will be notified accordingly. Once the Court has determined that the client has met all the conditions of the program, it will officially dismiss the charge. If all of the conditions of PTI have been successfully completed within the first half of the program, it is possible that the client might be permitted to terminate his responsibility early. This provides an incentive to complete all conditions as soon as possible.
Drug Court PTI
Drug Court PTI resembles regular PTI in most respects, with the following exceptions:
- The primary focus of Drug Court PTI is on the treatment of substance abuse.
- The client on Drug Court PTI may not transfer supervision outside of county of original jurisdiction without the specific approval of the judge.
- The Court requires regular attendance in court for hearings that are known as Judicial Reviews. These hearings are conducted approximately every 2 months and are intended to let the judge closely monitor the client’s progress in the PTI program.
- Travel is restricted to a greater extent than it would be on regular PTI and drug testing is generally more frequent.
To speak with Charles Holloway, P.A., a criminal defense attorney in Clearwater, FL, about pre-trial intervention, please call (727) 446-8303. Our law firm serves the Tampa Bay area including Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties.