What Is a Diversion Program?
A diversion program is designed to keep non-violent first time offenders and individuals who need help out of the criminal justice system. Diversion programs intervene in a case before it becomes necessary to take an offender off the street. A diversion program allows an offender an opportunity to resolve the matter and get help without having to take the chance of going to jail, or worse, to prison. Diversion programs allow the State an opportunity to deal with an offender before he or she becomes a hardened criminal in the criminal justice system. Diversion programs are designed to divert offenders and people who need help into programs and away from crime, without incarceration.
What Is the Pretrial Intervention Program?
There is a misdemeanor Pretrial Intervention Program (MIP) and felony Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). The felony PTI program is overseen by the Florida Department of Corrections and is similar to probation. If you complete felony PTI, the felony charge will be dismissed by the State. In Florida, the Pretrial Intervention Programs are provided through Sections 948.08 and 948.16, Florida Statutes.
The Pretrial Intervention Program is a diversion program operated by the State Attorney’s Office. For offenders with little or no record who are charged with minor, non-violent offenses, the State will often consider sending the case to PTI rather than negotiate or take the case to trial. If the State and the offender agree, they enter into a contract. The State agrees to dismiss the charges if the offender completes the negotiated conditions. The conditions vary depending on the facts. Common conditions include monthly reporting, school attendance or employment, community service hours, cost of supervision fees and court costs or fees, and restitution if applicable. If you complete the conditions, the charges will be dismissed and you may be able to get your record sealed or expunged.
Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you or a loved one have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony and have no prior criminal record or only a minor record, you may qualify for the Pretrial Intervention Program. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine whether a diversion program is the best way to resolve your case. An attorney can help you get into the program, get the case dismissed and have your arrest record sealed and expunged.
It is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer and determine whether you are eligible for pretrial intervention and if so whether it is your best interest to take part in the program A Pretrial Intervention Program may be the difference between dismissal of the charges, without a record, and a long prison sentence.