What is Pretrial Diversion or Pretrial Intervention (PTI)?
Pretrial Intervention/Pretrial Diversion.
The Pretrial Intervention Program (commonly referred to as "PTI") is a program run by the State Attorney's Office. Only the State Attorney's Office has the authority to offer you PTI. The Judge cannot order the State to give you PTI.
PTI is a program run by the State Attorney's Office. For people with little or no record charged with minor, non-violent offenses, the State will often consider sending your case to PTI. If they agree and if you agree, you would enter into a non-binding contract. The State would agree to drop the charges in exchange for you completing negotiated conditions. What conditions you have to complete depend on what you and the State agree to. Common conditions include community service hours, fines, fees, and courses (i.e. petit theft course (Milepost)).
There is a misdemeanor PTI program and felony PTI program. The felony PTI program is overseen by the Florida Department of Corrections and looks and feels more like probation. It often requires a long term of supervision, typically 6 -12 months in length. There are usually more conditions that you have to fulfill. But the rewards are also greater. If you complete felony PTI, the felony charge will be dropped by the State. If you go to court, there is a chance you could become a convicted felon, go to jail or prison, and have other significant negative consequences. Call us to discuss your particular case, your eligibility for PTI, and whether it may be a good option for you.
Most people who are offered PTI will want to accept it. The reason is that it is usually going to be more expensive, more time consuming, more stressful, and riskier not to accept PTI. If you reject an offer of PTI, the State Attorney will make a filing decision. If they file charges, you would either have to enter a plea of guilty or no contest, or go to trial. If you go to trial and lose, you will not know what your sentence is going to be until the judge sentences you. Judges almost always treat you more harshly if you are convicted after trial than if you plead guilty or no contest before trial. If you go to trial and win, you would have paid attorney's fees and would have had to miss work for the days that the trial went to trial. With PTI, if you complete the conditions, you know the charges will be dropped and you may be able to get your record sealed or expunged. Usually, the risk versus reward analysis will lead to a conclusion that PTI is in your best interests, but not always. Call us to discuss whether your case may be eligible for PTI and whether it's a good idea for you.
PTI is a contract with the State. They will often require you to do things you may not want to do, like community service hours, fines, written letters of apology, etc. They will also make you waive your right to a speedy trial and the statute of limitations defense. You may refuse out of principle. There may be other defenses that can lead to a quick resolution, like a motion to dismiss. Each case is different and every person is different.
Prosecutors have way too many cases and far too little time. They often make decisions quickly without too much consideration for whether a case is PTI eligible or not. Often, prosecutors get frustrated with PTI cases because far too many are returned for a filing decision because the person doesn't show up for a PTI meeting or the notice of the PTI meeting was mailed to a wrong address. When you hire LGL, one of the first things we do is look to see if you are PTI eligible. After discussing the issue with you and determining whether you might be interested, we will contact the prosecutor and request that your case be diverted to PTI. Sometimes, we must draft and send the prosecutor a mitigation package that establishes with corroborating evidence why they should send your case to pretrial diversion. If your case is diverted, we will help you through the pretrial process to increase the probability that you successfully complete it.
Pretrial Intervention (PTI),
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