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.
Attorney for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program in Pinellas County, FL
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.
Information About Pre-trial Intervention Programs
- What is Pre-Trial Intervention?
- Who Is Eligible for Pre-trial Intervention?
- Benefits of Pre-Trial Intervention Programs
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:
- Avoiding the stress and cost of a criminal trial
- Avoiding potential criminal charges
- Avoiding a potentially permanent criminal record
- Receiving counseling, education, medical and psychological treatment
- Reducing recidivism rates for those who successfully complete PTI
- Eligibility to have criminal charges expunged
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.
Example of a Pre-Trial Intervention Contract
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.
- The Parties agree that this Agreement shall be effective only upon approval of the Court.
- It is agreed that Defendant meets the criteria and qualifications for admission to the Program, and Defendant’s Attorney, ______________, having fully investigated the case and having fully advised the Defendant, ___________________, of his/her rights, believes it to be in the Defendant’s best interest to enter into this Agreement.
- It is understood and agreed that the Defendant shall participate in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program for a period of six (6) months with the possibility of early termination after three (3) months if all conditions are successfully completed. Defendant specifically waives any and all rights contained in Section (2), Chapter 948.08, Florida Statutes.
- _____________________, Defendant, by and through his/her Attorney, _____________________, stipulate and agree that in consideration for entering into this Agreement, the Defendant waives his/her right to Speedy Trial as provided by law, and further, that the Defendant’s right to Speedy Trial shall resume only on the new trial date for the charge if rejected by the Program for any reason or upon a resumption of this pending charge pursuant to 948.08(4), Florida Statutes.
- For the purpose of this Program, the Defendant acknowledges and accepts responsibility for the crime he/she is charged said acknowledgment not to be used against him/her in the event of future prosecution. The parties agree that such acknowledge is the first step to rehabilitation.
- The Defendant agrees that he/she will keep the Pre-Trial Program Supervisor advised of his/her current address throughout the entire program. Defendant further agrees that as a part of the Program requirement he shall be obligated to appear in open court prior to being released from the Program. The Defendant’s failure to appear in open court when properly noticed of his/her last known address shall constitute a violation of the terms of this Agreement and the Defendant recognizes that he may then be withdrawn from the Program and the original prosecution reinstated.
- The Defendant, and his/her Attorney, warrant that the Defendant meets the eligibility criteria and has no prior criminal record, other than as stated on attached statement of prior arrest record and is not on probation for a prior crime, charge, or conviction. Defendant agrees that he/she will be completely law-abiding during the term of this Agreement. At the conclusion of the Program and prior to the dismissal, the Defendant shall submit an Affidavit, under oath, attesting to the fact that he/she has not been arrested for any reason while on the Program.
- The Defendant, voluntarily agrees to make restitution in the case to the victim, __________________, in the amount of $__________________, payable as follows: VIA CASH OR MONEY ORDER-MADE PAYABLE TO THE PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE (MAKE ALL PAYMENTS AT THIS OFFICE).
- The Defendant agrees to submit him/herself to a psychological examination. The Defendant further agrees the costs of such psychological counseling shall be his/her responsibility.
- The Parties stipulate and agree the Agreement shall in no way, operate as a contract for immunity from prosecution for the Charge referred to herein and, further, should Defendant fail to meet the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Agreement shall be void at the discretion of the State Attorney or the Court, or either of them, without Notice of Hearing, and prosecution may then be instituted.
- The Defendant agrees to work regularly at a lawful occupation and/or participate in other programs for evaluation or treatment established for him/her under the supervision of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Defendant paying the costs of said programs and/or evaluations.
- The Defendant agrees to immediately inform his/her Pre-Trial Interview Supervisor of any change relating to employment.
- The Defendant further stipulates and agrees to truthfully answer all inquires and carry out all instructions of his/her Pre-Trial Interventions Supervisor, and grants permission for his/her said supervisor to visit his/her home, place of employment, school, or other location, for the purposes of carrying out adequate supervision.
- The Defendant agrees to do the following, in addition to the above: $50.00 per month to the _____________ County Sheriff’s Office for Cost of Supervision in compliance with Florida Statutes. Additional conditions:
- $30.00 for Court Costs:
- $50.00 State Attorney Processing Fee;
- Investigative Cost;
- 30 Hours of Community Service;
- Shoplifters Awareness Course (or other educational classes relevant to the offense such as Anger Management);
- No Contact with Victim;
- No Early Termination of PTI Program; and
- Letter of Apology.
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 Center 14250 49th Street North, Suite 1300 Clearwater, FL 33762 727-464-6410
Finding A Pinellas County Pre-trial Intervention Lawyer
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.