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Overview of the Pretrial Intervention Program in New Jersey

Many of our readers may have heard about pretrial diversion options in New Jersey for people who are arrested for relatively minor criminal offenses. There is, in fact, such an option in a limited number of criminal cases. The program is known as the Pretrial Intervention Program, or PTI.

Certain individuals who are facing charges of drug crimes may be able to qualify for PTI. In general, PTI is reserved for those who are charged with so-called "victimless" crimes. Under certain circumstances, drug possession charges could fall within this category. Other alleged crimes would also qualify, as long as the charges are not considered to be too serious. A person who is charged with a violent crime in New Jersey would not be eligible, nor would a person who has a prior conviction.

In essence, the PTI program is like serving a term of probation before a conviction is entered. The person who wants to be considered for the program submits an application, which is then reviewed by a probation officer. Once the probation officer's investigation of the individual and the charges is complete, a report will be submitted to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor agrees to allow the individual to participate in the PTI program, the court proceedings could be delayed for as much as three years while the individual completes the conditions of the program.

If an individual successfully completes all of the terms of the PTI program, that person's case will be dismissed. However, if the individual fails to abide by the terms of the program in any way, there is a possibility that the PTI could be terminated and the individual would have to go to court to face the charges.

Source: "Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI)," Accessed April 11, 2015

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