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Avoid Jail in Pinellas County and Hillsborough County, Florida

Melinda Morris
By: Melinda Morris
Jul. 29 2016

Pinellas and Hillsborough County Florida offer alternatives to taking certain criminal cases to trial. A non-violent first-time offender charged with a misdemeanor or third-degree felony may be eligible for a diversion program, often referred to as a Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI), which could result in their charges being dismissed. Though certain counties may call their diversion programs by different names, most programs in Florida operate the same way and are accessible to many first time offenders.

If you were arrested for your first criminal offense in Florida, you may qualify for a diversion program. The Morris Law Firm’s attorneys have extensive experience getting their clients enrolled in Pre-Trial Intervention programs. It is important that you immediately consult an attorney to determine your eligibility for such a program and to discuss the details of your legal matter.

Pre-Trial Intervention in Florida

In Florida, Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) is a voluntary program intended to provide supervision, education, counseling, and, when needed, medical and psychological services to the offender. Misdemeanor programs are typically monitored by various contract agencies, while felony-level intervention programs are directly supervised by the Florida Department of Corrections.

According to Florida Statutes § 948.08, any first time 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 a pretrial intervention program in the following instances:

• Approval made by the administrator of the program, state attorney, presiding judge, and victim (when one exists); and
• The offender voluntarily agreed to such program and knowingly and intelligently waived his or her right to a speedy trial for the period of his or her diversion.

Certain factors surrounding an arrest will disqualify a person from being eligible for a PTI program. Some of the disqualifying factors include:
• The person has a conviction on a prior matter;
• The current arrest is for a violent crime;
• The person has previously completed a PTI program

To successfully complete a diversion program, the person must complete certain terms and conditions that are set by the State Attorney’s Office. Depending on the crime and circumstances, a first-time offender may have conditions that include community service, counseling, random drug or alcohol screening, and supervision.

A person in a diversion program agrees to not be arrested or charged with any new offense while in the program. Violating the terms of the program could result in an addition criminal charges, fines, and jail time.

Benefits of Completing a DUI Pretrial Intervention in Florida

Completing a PTI program includes the following benefits:
• Avoiding potential incarceration
• Avoiding certain fines and court costs;
• A known outcome; and
• Pending charges potentially being dismissed.

Experience Matters

Even a first-time misdemeanor conviction can be detrimental and costly. If you were arrested for any reason you need an experienced attorney to guide you through the legal process and fight on your behalf.
Contact the Morris Law Firm at (727) 388-4736 or submit an online form to schedule a confidential consultation. The Morris Law Firm strongly advocates for clients throughout the Tampa Bay area of Florida, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Seminole, Tampa, and neighboring areas.

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