Pretrial Intervention Program
What is it?
Click here to read the statute (948.08) that governs the Pretrial Intervention Program. Put simply it’s a Court Diversion Program that allows a person to complete specific tasks and get his case dismissed. It’s different from regular pretrial diversion in that pretrial Intervention is the Judge’s program. The Judge sets the conditions and the judge administers the intervention program. When we are talking about pretrial diversion we are talking about the state attorney sending approval for the Defendant and an outside Diversion program administering the diversion requirements.
According to the Statute, you are eligible for pretrial intervention program if you are “Any first offender, or any person previously convicted of not more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, who is charged with any misdemeanor or felony of the third degree is eligible for release to the pretrial intervention program on the approval of the administrator of the program and the consent of the victim, the state attorney, and the judge who presided at the initial appearance hearing of the offender.” In other words you can get into PTI if you have a nonviolent history consisting of a sole misdemeanor OR you are a first time offender.
The charge itself also must be a 3rd degree felony or a misdemeanor. However, there is no specific language that states what the offense itself must be. Therefore, there is wide latitude in what can be received into pretrial intervention program Orlando. However, notice the language found toward the end of the Statute, stating the state attorney and the victim must approve. So, the Program appears to be similar to Diversion in more ways than one.
Problems with the Pretrial Intervention Program?
The main problem with the pretrial intervention Program is that PTI requires State And Victim Approval. PTI was created by the legislature to help people with no criminal record get a break if they didn’t qualify for diversion. In those cases the legislature allows for the judge to determine if they are a good candidate for PTI. However, the legislature messed up in this author’s opinion. That is because they put in language stating the State must approve. If the State rejected the Defendant from doing diversion, there is a strong chance the State will not have a desire to allow them to do intervention either. In other words, we’re back to the State calling the shots, disallowing a judge from helping those deserving people who the State simply missed or refused to accept into Diversion.
When your case appears eligible for Pretrial Intervention Program It’s important to hire the right lawyer so they can help improve your chances of getting into the program. A good lawyer will introduce evidence and make a strong argument for why the State should allow the case into Pretrial Intervention. A good lawyer will coordinate with the State, the Judge, and the victims to help you get into pretrial intervention.
Solutions to a State’s Objection:
Under the Florida Statute (948.08) dealing with pretrial intervention program, there is a loophole to the state-must-accept requirement. This loophole is available only for drug-based cases though. Where the case is drug related and it appears the Defendant has a substance abuse problem, PTI is much more lenient and more accommodating. For example, if you are shown to have a substance abuse problem, the pretrial intervention program will accept higher-degree felonies (up to 2nd degree), and the State can’t reject your application. In other words, the Judge can accept you over the State’s objection.