Former State Prosecutor
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When a person faces criminal charges, the most important thing to do is avoid a conviction. Although the best scenario would be to have the charges dropped, that is not always an option. In some cases, an attorney can work with the prosecution to secure other non-conviction options, such as pre-trial intervention programs.
Pre-trial intervention programs are programs in which the person accused of a crime is able to complete courses pertaining to the offense and have his or her record clean. The idea is to reform a first-time non-violent offender, rather than integrate him or her into the criminal justice system.
In Pinellas County, FL, the State Attorney's Office uses a program for pre-trial intervention and a domestic violence intervention program. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney to find out more about whether you should enter a diversion program or fight the charges aggressively for an outright dismissal in court.
If you are a first-time offender and have been arrested for a criminal offense in the Tampa Bay area, contact Morris Law Firm, P.A.. Our attorneys have years of experience on both sides of the law, and they understand what it takes to negotiate with the prosecution. A simple mistake does not have to mean a lifetime of a criminal record.
Our attorneys are familiar with the pre-trial intervention program in Pinellas County, FL. We represent clients in the courtrooms throughout St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County, and all of the surrounding counties in Tampa Bay.
Protecting your future is important, and Morris Law Firm, P.A. can help. They represent clients throughout St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas County, Tampa, Hillsborough County and other surrounding counties. Contact Morris Law Firm, P.A. at (727) 388-4736 or online for information on getting enrolled in a pre-trial intervention program.
Pre-trial intervention programs were created to provide people with possible rehabilitation opportunities and reduce recidivism as an alternative to potential jail or prison sentences and permanent criminal charges on their record. These programs often are available to typically non-violent first-time offenders.
Pre-trial intervention programs are offered by the Florida Department of Corrections and designed for those who are charged with a specific type of crime committed. Pre-trial intervention programs typically provide appropriate counseling, education, supervision and medical and psychological treatment for those released to such programs.
Florida Statute Section 948.08 states that, "…[a]ny first offender, or any person previously convicted of not more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, who is charged with any misdemeanor or felony of the third degree is eligible for release to the pre-trial intervention program on the approval of the administrator of the program and the consent of the victim, the state attorney, and the judge who presided at the initial appearance hearing of the offender."
In essence, you must typically be a non-violent first-time offender, and your attorney must negotiate with the prosecutor in your case to successfully place you into a pre-trial intervention program and avoid formal criminal charges.
However, there are specific stipulations in the Florida Statutes Section 948.08 that deal with pre-trial intervention program eligibility for controlled substance and drug offenders.
For instance, a person charged with a felony of the second or third degree for purchase or possession of a controlled substance or obtaining prescription by fraud and has not been charged with a violent crime or has not been convicted of a felony of involved in a pre-trial program is eligible for voluntary admission into substance abuse education and treatment intervention programs.
A person who is charged with a misdemeanor for possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia and who has not previously been convicted of a felony nor been admitted to a pretrial program would be eligible for voluntary admission into a misdemeanor pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program, as well. These types of Pretrial Intervention Programs are sometimes referred to as drug courts.
Some of the benefits of enrolling in a pre-trial intervention program include:
People who successfully complete a pre-trial intervention program will have their criminal charges dismissed. It is important to understand that even though your criminal charges may be dismissed, it does not mean that they have been expunged. Expunging your criminal record in Florida is a separate process that may be initiated after you have completed a pre-trial intervention program.
The terms of the pre-trial intervention contract are negotiated in each case between the prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney. Although the terms are different from contract to contract, many of the provisions in the contract are standard conditions. We added this example just to give you a general idea of what the pre-trial intervention contract looks like.
IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF
THE STATE OF FLORIDA AND FOR PASCO/PINELLAS COUNTY
CASE NO.: __________________________
STATE OF FLORIDA
PRE-TRIAL INTERVENTION PROGRAM AGREEMENT
THIS AGREEMENT, is entered into on this ________ day of ____________, 2016, by and between ___________________, Defendant, _________________, Attorney for Defendant, and BERNIE McCABE, State Attorney, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida, by and through his undersigned Assistant.
BERNIE McCABE, State Attorney Sixth Judicial Circuit, by and through his undersigned Assistant, hereby warrants and agrees that, should ________________, Defendant, fully meet the terms and conditions of this Agreement as determined by said State Attorney, the charges referred to herein shall be dismissed. It is stipulated and agreed that the State Attorney’s decision regarding full compliance in this regard shall be final and shall not be reviewable by the Court.
Defense Attorney’s Signature
Assistant State Attorney, BERNIE McCABE, State Attorney, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida
Pinellas Alternative Sentencing / Pre-Trial Services in Clearwater, FL - Visit the website of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about the Alternative Sentencing / Pre-Trial Services in Judicial Operations. In Pinellas County, the Alternative Sentencing Unit supervises pre-arrest, pre-trial and sentenced offenders who must abide by certain court-ordered restrictions while released in the community. Conditions might include weekly communication, random drug screenings or home confinement, GPS monitoring or an alcohol monitoring. Visit the website to learn more bout Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion (APAD); Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM); Day Reporting; GPS Monitoring; Supervised Release on Recognizance (SROR).Alternative Sentencing and Pre-Trial Services at the Pinellas County Justice Center14250 49th Street North, Suite 1300Clearwater, FL 33762727-464-6410
If you are a first-time offender seeking to enter a pre-trial intervention program to potentially avoid formal criminal charges, contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in representing a person with no prior criminal record (often called a "first-time" offender). Our attorneys understand the best ways of resolving the case when an outright dismissal is not possible.
We can help you understand the pros and cons of entering a diversion program such as the misdemeanor or felony pre-trial intervention program in Pinellas County, FL. Call us to discuss your case and the best ways to avoid a conviction or criminal record. We can also help you understand the rules for sealing and expunging the record after the charges are dismissed.
Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, December 2, 2016.
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