What is Pretrial Intervention?

Pretrial Intervention in New Jersey

Arrest FingerprintsIn New Jersey, a first-time criminal defendant facing certain types of charges may be sent through the pretrial intervention (PTI) program. In order for the prosecutor and PTI director to determine the best action to take, they will consider the nature of the offense, the facts of the particular case, if the crime was violent, if the defendant has a history of violence, the interests of society, and more.

The benefit to the defendant is that no conviction is on the defendant’s criminal record for that alleged crime, and the benefit to the justice system is that its judicial resources are put towards more serious matters that require formal prosecution. Cutting down on judicial waste and clearing up the court calendar is an important interest to consider. In addition, the defendant can avoid a possibly costly trial with the penalties that can accompany a conviction.

The Purpose of the Pretrial Intervention Program

Pretrial Intervention (PTI) has a purpose of providing defendants with opportunities to avoid ordinary prosecution by receiving early rehabilitative services when they can be expected to deter future criminal behavior by the defendant and when there is a causal connection between the offense charged and the rehabilitative need. Furthermore, to provide an alternative to prosecution for defendants who might be harmed by the imposition of criminal sanctions to deter criminal conduct. Therefore, the method is to provide a mechanism for permitting the least burdensome form of prosecution possible for defendant charged with “victimless” offenses.
Lastly, it is to assist in the relief of presently overburdened criminal calendars to focus expenditure of criminal justice resources on matters involving severe correctional problems and to deter future criminal or disorderly behavior by a defendant/participant in pretrial intervention. The greatest benefit of acceptance to PTI, if eligible, is that there is no conviction on the defendant’s criminal record for the alleged crime.

How Do I Apply for Pretrial Intervention?

First time offenders in New Jersey can apply for PTI and avoid being subjected to prosecution, if done so within a timely fashion. The defendant must submit his or her application for PTI within twenty-eight (28) days after being indicted. The defendant has to do this at the Criminal Division Office in the county where the charges were filed.

The next step is an interview with a trained staff member of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court, where a report is drawn detailing admission or rejection from the PTI program. The report is sent to the prosecutor assigned to the case and a letter of acceptance or denial will be sent to the defense attorney.

What are the Conditions for Participation in PTI?

Defendants accepted into the program tend to be supervised for several years, and may be subject to certain conditions, such as random urinalyses, fines, fees, community service, payment of restitution, and submission to alcohol and/or psychological evaluations.

Once successfully completing PTI and adhering to all conditions therein, the charges are dropped, leaving the defendant with no criminal record of the original offense(s). However, if PTI is not a success, the case returns to the court calendar, and it is handled in the traditional courtroom setting.

Call Villani & DeLuca for More Information About PTI

Located in Point Pleasant Beach, the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. often appear in Ocean County Superior Court and Monmouth County Superior Court to defend their clients charged with burglary, theft, and related offenses. If you are eligible, our lawyers may consider your eligibility for Pretrial intervention and explain how the pretrial intervention process works in New Jersey. Partner Carmine R. Villani, Esq. of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. has been practicing criminal defense for more than 20 years and is prepared to defend your case. Call 732-965-3350 for a free initial consultation.

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