Important Information About Pre-Trial Intervention in the State of New Jersey

The State of New Jersey has created a unique program to enable certain eligible defendants the opportunity to have a rehabilitative path after committing certain crimes. The Pre-Trial Intervention Program is a diversionary program created by the Superior Court and governed by Rules 3.28. To learn more about whether your upcoming case could potentially be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, review the information below:

Background Information About the Pre-Trial Intervention Program

The purpose of the Pre-Trial Intervention Program is to be diversionary at the Superior Court for criminals who have committed crimes. It is a program that provides a great deal of power to the Prosecutor to select certain eligible defendants who will have their charges dismissed if they complete the program successfully. This program is a unique opportunity for a defendant to suffer more minor of the many detriments of being convicted of a crime, including prison.

Who Is the Ideal Candidate for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program?

The ideal candidate for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program is a defendant being charged with non-violence and low-level crimes that have the potential to be monitored by probation with conditions, including periodic drug tests, remaining arrest-free, and keeping a job. Defendants who can take advantage of this program have the option to be put on the path to having a law-abiding life free of a criminal record.

Is a Defendant Eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program More Than Once?

Defendants are only eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program once. If the defendant commits another offense, the opportunity never comes back again. Other programs include the Conditional Discharge for Drugs in Municipal Courts and the Conditional Dismissal Program for Non-Drug Offenses. It is essential to understand that if the defendant has already used either of these other programs, they are typically ineligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.

How Can a Defendant Be Considered for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program?

Prosecutors have a great deal of power regarding the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. To start the process, there is the first interview with a probation officer, and then the probation officer will reject or recommend an applicant for entry into the program. If the probation officer rejects the defendant, the Prosecutor can still recommend the defendant to the program. However, if the Prosecutor rejects the defendant’s admission to the program, it can be very difficult to reverse their decision.

Do Defendants Have to Admit Their Guilt To Be Admitted to the Pre-Trial Intervention Program?

After the Ray Rice case, New Jersey changed the PTI laws after a video was leaked to TMZ with him punching his wife in Atlantic City. Previously, defendants did not have to admit their guilt to be admitted to the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. However, after the controversial Ray Rice case, certain cases now require an admission of guilt to be admitted to the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Conditional pleas are now required for (i) a first or second-degree crime; (ii) any crime if the defendant had previously been convicted of a first or second-degree crime; (iii) a third or fourth-degree crime involving domestic violence, as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:25- 19; or (iv) any disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence, as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:25- 19 if the defendant committed the offense while subject to a temporary or permanent restraining order issued under the provisions of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.

How Can Defendants Have the Best Chance of Being Accepted to the Pre-Trial Intervention Program?

A defendant will have the most success entering the Pre-Trial Intervention Program if they put their best foot forward from the beginning of their case. Typically, our team of Former Prosecutors prepares a Mitigation Package where we begin to show the complete representation of a defendant’s positive character. Our objective is to humanize our clients by preparing a brief with citations and exhibits to show that our client is worthy of this unique opportunity. A Mitigation Package is essential to mitigate a defendant’s automatic negative impression after being accused of a crime.

What Happens if a Defendant Fails Out of the Pre-Trial Intervention Program?

If a defendant fails out of the program, their probation officer will file a violation of the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, and the case will be returned to Court. In Court, a judge will determine if the Defendant violated the PTI terms. If the Court violates the defendant, the case will return to the prosecution or go to sentencing if the defendant was required to provide a conditional plea at the time of entry into the Pre-Trial Intervention program. If a violation is not proven to the Court, the case returns to the PTI status. The Pre-Trial Intervention Program is designed for defendants to have the privilege of having a fresh start without the implications of a conviction. For this reason, the Pre-Trial Intervention Program is a one-time opportunity.

How the Bianchi Law Group Can Help

At the Bianchi Law Group, our firm primarily focuses on cases related to Criminal Defense, Municipal Court Matters, and Domestic Violence. Our team of former prosecutors has prosecuted many criminal and domestic violence cases. The Bianchi Law Group is equipped with experienced Criminal Defense attorneys in New Jersey to help individuals obtain their case’s best possible representation and legal outcome.

Former Prosecutors and Trusted by the Media

The Bianchi Law Group partners Robert (Bob) Bianchi and David Bruno are former prosecutors who are certified along with only 250 other attorneys as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Bob and Dave regularly appear as national legal analysts to comment and debate on major news networks such as Fox News, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, and Fox Business.

Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can potentially assist you with your upcoming case or investigation.