If you’re facing criminal charges, you may think that the only possible outcomes are an acquittal or a guilty verdict. But in Florida, there is a third path: the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. PTI is a way for the authorities to divert cases away from the criminal justice system. From the authorities’ perspective, PTI is beneficial because it reduces the strain on the court, jail, and prison systems.
Benefits of the Pre-Trial Intervention Program in Florida
As a criminal suspect, PTI could be beneficial for you for a number of reasons:
- A quick and cheaper resolution of your case that avoids the time consuming and expensive procedures of a criminal trial
- No criminal conviction or permanent criminal record
- No jail time
- Getting the help you need to address your addiction or behavioral issues
- Having the record of your arrest expunged
That being said, if you enter a diversionary program, you are essentially admitting your guilt. Although you won’t have a criminal record as a result of entering PTI, you may still have to report your arrest when applying for jobs or professional licenses. For this reason, if you are innocent of any wrongdoing and have the financial resources to hire a Sarasota criminal defense attorney, it may be in your best interest to dig in and fight the charges against you.
What Are the Requirements for PTI in Florida?
There are two types of PTI in Florida: one for misdemeanor drug possession offenses (Florida statute section 948.16), and another for general criminal offenses (Florida statute section 948.08). Misdemeanor drug possession PTI may be an option if you:
- Do not have a felony on your criminal record
- Have not been enrolled in PTI before
- Are not currently being charged with felony drug possession (LSD, heroin, more than .5 grams of cocaine, or methamphetamine)
- The evidence does not suggest you may be involved in trafficking
You can enroll in general PTI if you:
- Have no prior felony arrests
- Have no prior criminal convictions–unless it’s for one nonviolent misdemeanor
- Are not being charged with a second-degree felony
- The victims of your crime (if there are any) agree that you may participate in PTI
In all cases, your participation in PTI depends on the authorities. A program administrator, the judge, and the prosecutor must all approve your participation, likely on the basis of whether they see you as being able and willing to comply with the program’s requirements.
How Does Pre-Trial Intervention Work?
PTI is similar to probation. You will be given a number of requirements to follow, which may include any of the following:
- Regular reporting to a supervising officer
- Paying enrollment fees
- Completing community service
- Paying back the victims of your crime
- Attending counseling or therapy
- Any other requirement that may be needed to rehabilitate you
Unlike probation, once you meet the requirements of PTI, the charges against you will be dismissed. The only record of your wrongdoing will be your PTI file with local law enforcement, and the record of your arrest, which you may be able to expunge. If you fail to successfully complete the program, the prosecutor will likely pursue the original criminal charges against you.
A Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
At Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., we are committed to helping people like you to obtain the best case outcomes possible under their circumstances. We will consider all available options, and advocate fiercely on your behalf so that you can retain your freedom and dignity when confronting the criminal justice system. If you’ve been charged with a crime, call us today at (941) 363-7900 to schedule a case consultation.View All Blogs