The Pretrial Intervention Program, or PTI, is offered by the State of Florida through its Department of Corrections and allows some people charged with a 3rd degree felony the opportunity to have the charges dismissed. Under this system, they are charged with a crime, enter a guilty plea, and complete a process similar to probation. If defendants successfully complete their obligations, their guilty pleas are voided and their convictions are removed from their records.
“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.” Florida Statute Section 948.08.Under this system, anyone who meets these requirements can request participation in the program. However, the judge, prosecutor, and victim must each give consent for the defendant to participate in the PTI program.
The PTI process is flexible, allowing each defendant’s program to be tailored to their situation. Common requirements include:
• Full restitution to the victim
• Participation in drug, anger management, or other treatment program
• Participation in random and scheduled drug testing
• Completion of community service hours
• Payment of supervision fees
• Scheduled reports to the assigned supervising personnel
If the program is successfully completed, the defendant’s felony charge is dismissed.
Hillsborough County’s Pretrial Intervention
In this Florida County, the PTI process varies from the rest of the state. If a person is arrested for a 3rd degree felony in Hillsborough County and meets the eligibility requirements detailed above, they can request to participate in the PTI program before charges are filed. This distinction is critical to the resolution of the situation and the impact of the arrest on the defendant’s life.
After arrest for a 3rd class felony, a smart defendant will immediately hire an experienced defense attorney who can intervene before charges are filed by the prosecutor’s office. If a successful PTI request is made at this time, no charges are filed. There are no court appearances. The person can complete their PTI program with no public acknowledgement of the situation.
This early intervention saves both the state and the defendant the cost of court appearances. The person participating in the PTI program is also spared the embarrassment of the public court appearances and the felony charge on their record.
Everyone from doctors to cab drivers make mistakes. The PTI program allows people to mitigate the damage these mistakes cause in their lives. The Hillsborough County PTI program takes these benefits a step further, and an experienced defense attorney is crucial to this process.