Pre-trial intervention (PTI) is a diversionary program other than prosecution. It is available for certain cases in Municipal, Magistrate, and General Sessions Courts of South Carolina. What this means is that instead of being prosecuted for a crime and having a criminal record, you can be placed on a different track and, if successful, have the charge dismissed from your record NDS void prosecution. However, not all charges qualify for PTI and not all facts qualify for the program either, that’s why it is important to consult a Charleston criminal defense attorney to learn more about the program.
What you Need to Know About PTI
To be considered for PTI you must be at least 17 yrs. of age or older. You only get to use once in your lifetime. Each County Solicitor has there own program and requirements to enter the program so it’s important that you retain a lawyer to learn if your case qualifies.
Why Should I do PTI?
Iy you are accepted into the program and complete it successfully, the charge against you will be dismissed and you can get the arrest expunged from your record.
What if I’m guilty?
PTI is designed for those that have committed a crime but deserve a second chance. Just because you’ve made one mistake in life doesn’t mean you should be burdened with a criminal record for the rest of your life.
What Does PTI Involve?
Typically PTI will involve community service at a non-profit organization, if it is a drug charge then random drug testing, if there is restitution owed to the victim you will be required to pay them back with the time frame to complete the program. The length of the program can vary between a minimum of 90 days up to 12 months. At the beginning you will be sent an application letter to apply for the program where an interview will be conducted. If accepted you will be sent a second letter to report for orientation.
What Does this Cost?
There is an initial $100 non-refundable application fee to see if you are eligible for the program. If you are accepted, then there is an additional $250 which does not include drug testing, restitution or other costs that may be included.
What if I fail the program?
There are a number of ways to be unsuccessful in PTI such as:
- Failing a drug test;
- Failing to repay restitution on time;
- Failing to complete community service;
- Not keeping in contact with the PTI program;
If you do fail out of the program your case will be returned to the prosecutor and you will be placed back into the criminal justice system for prosecution.
What Charges can be Referred?
- Possession of marijuana;
- Assault & battery 3rd degree;
- Domestic violence (under limited circumstances).
If a victim is involved in the charge then the victim must consent to you being considered for the PTI program, if the victim does not consent, then you will not be considered.
What if I live out of State or in another County?
You may apply by mail if you have a municipal or magistrate level charge but all general session charges must make the application in person. Once you have made that application your case can be transferred sometimes.
Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see there are benefits and consequences to PTI and you should talk to a Charleston criminal defense lawyer lawyer about the program to see if it is right for you and whether you are prepared to follow through with the commitment. It’s not a free ride but the reward at the end means this program can have a significant impact on your life.