What is PTI? What is the Benefit of Diversion?
PTI (Pre-trial Intervention) is similar in nature to probation, but it is not probation. Probation is part of a sentence imposed by a Judge after a conviction. With PTI participation, you can enter into the program without ever pleading guilty (although some prosecutors want a guilty plea as a condition of PTI participation). You will need to be charged with either a 3rd or 4th degree crime to be automatically eligible. If you are charged with a 2nd degree crime, the prosecutor can block your application, by refusing to consent. In addition, there are certain types of crimes that will automatically prevent you from being eligible for PTI diversion. If you are accepted into the PTI program, upon successful completion the charges are dismissed. If you were required to plead guilty to get accepted, the plea is vacated and then the charges are dismissed. Six months after the completion and discharge from the PTI program, you can apply for your record to be expunged.
How Do I Apply? What Is The Process? How Can I Improve My Chance of Being Accepted?
The first thing you need to do is review your charges with your lawyer. Are you automatically eligible? Do any of your charges automatically bar you? What are the chances of conviction if you do not divert your case, or plead guilty? If you are not guilty, can your lawyer convince the prosecution to allow PTI diversion without you being required to enter a guilty plea? The process entails you being interviewed, in conjunction with a review of the prosecution's file against you. You will be expected to tell the interviewer what your participation was, even if it was minimal, or you are innocent. There is no mandatory requirement that you state your guilt, although in a close case, if you actually did it, an apology or an agreement to provide restitution to the victim can make the difference in whether your application is approved. Talk to your lawyer about counseling and community service as supportive efforts showing you are seeking to address the situation, and support the application