Contact Us Today!

Contact Us Today!

  • Message

(908) 272-0200

How To Get Criminal Charges Dismissed Through the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI)?

Being charged with a criminal offense can derail your life and leave you feeling confused about what comes next. These feelings can be especially distressing if you have never been accused of a crime. You might wonder what your charges could mean for your family, reputation, housing situation, career, and more.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can work with you to potentially avoid the disruption and lasting criminal record associated with a conviction—especially if the crime you have been accused of is non-violent and you are a first time offender. One way to do this is by participating in a diversionary program called pretrial intervention.  

What is pretrial intervention?

Many states have systems set up to help eligible individuals avoid the lasting consequences of a criminal record while lifting the burden on the criminal justice system. In New Jersey, this system is known as the Pretrial Intervention (PTI) program. 

PTI focuses on reducing the number of non-violent defendants in the state’s criminal justice system—specifically those whose criminal activity may be caused by an underlying condition such as a mental illness or a substance abuse problem—and facilitating access to necessary services.

While pretrial intervention programs are not a replacement for prison across the board, they afford eligible defendants the opportunity to avoid prison—and a criminal record—by remaining arrest free and following any conditions imposed by the judge, such as participating in community-based programs and services. 

How does pretrial intervention work in New Jersey?

New Jersey’s PTI program allows eligible defendants to participate in a supervision program for a period of 12-36 months, during which they must successfully complete a set of conditions. 

Participants in the PTI program typically must comply with probation requirements and undergo random drug testing, in addition to paying fines. Depending on the specifics of any criminal allegations, they may also be required to: 

Once you have completed the PTI program, any charges against you will be dismissed, and you will not have a record of a criminal conviction. Six months after the dismissal, you may begin the process to have the arrest and diversion itself expunged from your permanent record. If a defendant does not follow the program’s rules, however, they could be sent back to the criminal justice system to be tried for their charges.

Who is eligible for pretrial intervention?

PTI is generally reserved for people accused of non-violent crimes and who have not been convicted of a crime before. Those with previous criminal convictions or facing second-degree charges need permission from the prosecutor to apply, along with a special statement for application to PTI explaining why PTI is appropriate in this specific circumstance for this specific defendant. 

It is critically important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to craft a PTI application in a manner most likely to get a defendant accepted into the program.  

Eligibility for PTI is determined based on many different factors, including: 

It’s important to note that not every criminal defendant is allowed to participate in the PTI program, even if they meet all of the eligibility criteria. The prosecutor in charge of the case will decide whether or not to accept PTI applications on a case-by-case basis. 

Some factors automatically disqualify defendants from participating in PTI. Specifically, charges for any of the following types of crimes make a person ineligible: 

Offenses that qualify for pretrial intervention

People who have been accused of third- and fourth-degree crimes are most likely to qualify for pretrial intervention. These crimes may include:

That said, a criminal defense attorney may still be able to get someone who has been accused of a first or second-degree crime—such as arson, manslaughter, or sexual assault—into a PTI program by negotiating with the prosecutor to get those charges reduced to third- or fourth-degree crimes and for specific conditions. 

Offenses that do not qualify for pretrial intervention

Prosecutors may be less likely to allow someone who has been accused of a violent crime to participate in pretrial intervention, as the PTI program is not intended for those who are considered violent or a threat to society. 

Some examples of the offenses that generally don’t qualify for PTI might include:

Contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys

The Pretrial Intervention program may be just one of the legal options at your disposal to avoid jail time and a criminal record, but it’s important to take action quickly. 

Our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys will help you gain a better understanding of the eligibility requirements for PTI, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your individual case, and recommend the best course of action to mitigate any potential long-term negative consequences of your arrest.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in the state of New Jersey, don’t delay. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski to schedule your free consultation right away.

Start Working With Us