Florida’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program Explained
Many people believe that if you are charged with a minor criminal offense, you deserve a chance to be rehabilitated instead of having to suffer the impact of a steep fine or jail term. The state of Florida and its Department of Corrections feel this way too and, combining this with statistics showing a reduced recidivism rate among individuals who successfully complete diversion programs, offers the pre-trial intervention program (PTI) to individuals who meet certain criteria. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about the PTI program to see if you qualify.
Who Qualifies for Pre-Trial Intervention?
Being charged with a criminal offense does not automatically qualify an individual for pre-trial intervention. Only individuals who meet the following requirements can enter the program:
- The charge must be a misdemeanor or third degree felony;
- The individual must be a first time offender or have no more than one nonviolent misdemeanor conviction on his or her record; and
- The individual must have his or her participation in the program approved by the victim of his or her alleged offense, the program administrator, the state attorney, and the judge who presided over his or her initial hearing.
Although this can sound like a lot, it is quite possible to enter the PTI program and have your charge dropped. Working with a lawyer who has experience with this program can increase your chance of successfully entering it because he or she can write an effective petition on your behalf and work with the necessary parties to seek your approval.
What Does the Program Involve?
PTI is a lot like probation in that instead of serving time in a correctional facility, the individual is required to complete certain tasks while being supervised by an officer. The difference between probation and PTI is that once PTI is complete, the individual’s charge is dropped. This means that a conviction is not entered on his or her record, nor is a guilty plea. The arrest, however, remains on the individual’s record. In some cases, it can be expunged.
PTI terms are tailored to the individual’s charge and personal needs. They can include:
- Psychological counseling, including specialized forms like anger management;
- A drug rehabilitation program;
- Community service;
- Regular check-ins with one’s officer and the court; and
- No new criminal charges.
Life After Completing the Pre-Trial Intervention Program
Having your charge dropped for successfully completing PTI means that you do not have to answer “yes” when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, which can help you immensely when you are seeking a new job or place to live. PTI can also be your opportunity to get help you need, but could not previously access, like help with a drug addiction or mental health disorder.
Work with an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, pre-trial intervention could be a viable option for you and your case. To learn more, contact our team of experienced Miami criminal defense lawyers at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation with us.