The various State Attorneys’ Offices throughout Florida offer Pretrial Intervention Programs, or PTI. Importantly, only the State Attorney’s Office has the authority to offer PTI to an accused – not the judge.
If an accused enters PTI, he or she enters a non-binding contract with the State Attorney’s Office whereby the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the charges upon the accused’s completion of certain conditions. PTI is typically only available to first-time offenders charged with minor, non-violent, offenses.
The conditions typically involve community service hours, fines, fees, costs and then often some charge specific conditions. If an accused, for example, is accused of petit theft, he or she may be required to take course about theft.
Felony PTI differs somewhat from misdemeanor PTI. The Florida Department of Corrections oversees felony PTI (Fla. Stat. § 948.08). In contrast, the local County probation office oversees misdemeanor PTI. In both instances, however, the accused typically completes a six-12-month probation term as he or she completes the specified conditions.
The benefits of completing PTI are numerous. Upon successful completion, the State dismisses the case. In contrast, if an accused contests the charges and goes to trial, he or she risks becoming a convicted criminal, and possibly a convicted felon. Moreover, once the State dismisses the charges, the criminal record is eligible for either sealing or expungement.
If you have been accused of a crime and think you may be eligible for PTI, call Michael White. He will work with the prosecutor in trying to get you into it. In close cases, Michael prepares a mitigation packet that he presents to the prosecutor, which gets the client into the program.