As any experienced criminal defense attorney knows, the most common routes by which a criminal case is handled in the Superior Courts, is by plea or trial. While the State can move a case for dismissal, this is not something that occurs in very many cases. Each of these alternatives (plea and trial) can result in a conviction that can take many years to get off your record. The Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI) offers a person charged with a crime an opportunity to divert their case into a different route, one that will allow the charges to be dismissed after the completion of the program.
Think of the program as being a type of probation. If you complete it, the charges can be dismissed. If the charges are dismissed, you can apply for an expungement. If your record is expunged, it’s like you were never arrested. Obviously, this type of result is preferable to having a criminal record, or worse, a criminal conviction record. Frequently, the defense lawyers at Bailey & Orozco are able to work out this type of disposition without any guilty plea needing to be entered at all. If a guilty plea must be entered, we make sure it will be dismissed after the completion of the PTI program.
While the program is available to a large number of persons, charged with a variety of crimes, there are restrictions which limit admissibility. Certain types of crimes are precluded from participation, unless a joint application is made by both the client and the prosecuting agency. Similarly, a client may be precluded based upon a prior criminal record, prior diversionary treatment, or when a codefendant’s case is still pending. In each of these circumstances a criminal defense lawyer can still argue for your admission into the program by submitting a ‘Statement of Compelling Reasons’ in support of your application.
While the State statutes and Court rules do not require a client to plead guilty in order to get into the PTI program, as stated above, the prosecutor will sometimes insist on a plea depending on several factors. So long as the client completes the program, the fact that there was a plea does not affect the outcome, which is the dismissal of the charges. This circumstance simply adds a step to the procedure, requiring the Court to vacate the guilty plea before the charge is dismissed. Call our firm and talk to our experienced criminal defense lawyers to see how we can assist you in getting into the PTI program.