Many people facing criminal charges benefit from a New Jersey program called pretrial intervention (PTI). PTI can help individuals charged with a crime avoid jail time and a criminal conviction on their record. Because of the criteria set out in the law, DWI offenders are generally not eligible for relief through PTI. However, courts in New Jersey have been reviewing cases recently regarding the eligibility of certain past DWI offenders for participation in PTI.
What is Pretrial Intervention?
Pretrial intervention is a diversion program in NJ that may be available for the following individuals:
- First-time offenders;
- People who have not participated in conditional discharge or PTI before;
- People charged with relatively minor crimes.
If you are accepted for PTI, the judge can suspend your case for up to three years and set conditions for you to follow including supervision, rehabilitation services, and staying out of trouble with the law. If you abide by all your conditions and complete the period of probation, the judge can dismiss your charges. For this reason, PTI can be extremely important for many accused defendants to avoid a conviction.
Can DWI Offenders Qualify for PTI?
In order to apply for PTI, you must be facing charges of at least a fourth degree indictable crime. In most cases, DWI is not an indictable crime, so PTI is not available for DWI charges. However, it may be available for charges stemming from a DWI. For example, if a DWI offender is caught driving on a suspended license, they can be charged with driving while license suspended due to a DWI, which can be charged as a fourth degree indictable crime. Therefore, many NJ defense attorneys are applying for PTI for their clients facing this type of charge.
In recent months, the appellate courts in New Jersey have reviewed several cases in which people charged with driving while suspended after a DWI were denied acceptance into PTI. The denials were upheld in these cases for various reasons, including past DWI charges showing a pattern of violating the law. While these specific offenders were not accepted into PTI, the appellate review indicates that courts are exploring the possibility of PTI for certain DWI offenders later charged with driving while suspended.
Discuss your Case with a New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney Today
At the law office of David C. Barry, Attorney at Law, we explore every option for you to avoid conviction, including pretrial intervention. If you are facing any type of criminal charges in New Jersey, call us for criminal defense help at 732-238-8686 today.