If you have been accused of a crime in the state of New Jersey, there is one very successful program that we offer in the state, something of which you should absolutely consider taking advantage. It’s known as pretrial intervention, and it’s a diversionary program which prevents you from holding a criminal conviction, and will instead enter into a highly successful rehabilitation program designed to prevent the individual from reoffending.

This is a great program for those who can take advantage of it, but the timing is also key for those who wish to participate. According to the NJ Supreme Court case State v. Sean Bell, individuals who have been found guilty in trial are no longer eligible to enter into the pretrial intervention program—it’s right there in the name. Let’s take a closer look into one case that asked for something a bit more complicated: entering into the program before sentencing but after the trial.

State v. Sean Bell: The defendant in this case, Bell, had been charged with second degree and third degree aggravated assault with a co-defendant. Because of his second degree charge, his defense attorney had advised him not to apply for the pretrial intervention program, as he would not normally have been omitted under the circumstances.

However, during the course of the trial the second degree charge of aggravated assault was dropped, and he was convicted instead of just the charge of third degree aggravated assault. Bell then attempted to apply for the pretrial intervention program. His co-defendant, who had also been charged with the third-degree aggravated assault, had been admitted into the program. Initially, the judge at the Ocean County Superior Court granted Bell’s application, as there had been a prior case heard by the State Supreme Court earlier in which PTI was allowed following a trial, though the circumstances in that case had been very narrowly applied.

The initial decision by the superior court judge was appealed by the state, and the decision reversed by the Appellate Division. This decision was later affirmed by the NJ Supreme Court. It further emphasized the definition of the program as intending to take place before a trial, and especially before a guilty verdict is found. In their statement regarding the case, the state Supreme Court noted that “admission to [pretrial intervention] following a jury trial and the return of a guilty verdict is the antithesis of the very purpose of the program.”

So while this can be a useful tool for those seeking to escape without a guilty conviction or criminal record, pretrial intervention must be sought after before you know if you will even be found guilty. Here at David C. Barry Law, I seek out many types of alternate sentencing and programs to help my clients find the success that they need in rehabilitation and minimal jail time. For more information about my experience and the way that I will work with you for the best results in your case, call me today at 732-238-8686.