Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI)

PRETRIAL INTERVENTION PROGRAM (PTI)

So, you've got a small prior record and thus don't qualify for the State's diversion program, yet you'd love to have your case dismissed. Not everyone has the opportunity to enter a pretrial diversion program run by the state, and some jurisdictions do not have drug court programs. Well, the battle to get your case dismissed is not over, there is still more options, and one such option is Pretrial Intervention (PTI). The beauty of PTI is that under some circumstances, permission from the State Attorney is not required. Here's how it works.

Section 948.08 of the Florida Statutes controls all PTI issues, and Section 948.08(2) provides that any 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 a pretrial intervention program on the approval of the administrator of the program (administrator is usually just the drug treatment facility) and the consent of the victim, the state attorney, and the judge who presided at the initial appearance hearing. Thus, under this section, you may enter the program for just about any crime, whether or not related to drugs (think Driving While License Suspended, etc), but only with the State Attorney's permission.

So, Section 948.08(2) requires the State's agreement, but section 948.08(6)(a) allows defendants charged with certain crimes to be placed in a substance abuse education and treatment program, including a drug court program, without the consent of the state attorney. Here's how the important parts of (6)(a) read:

(6)(a) ...Notwithstanding any provision of this section, a person who is charged with a nonviolent felony and is identified as having a substance abuse problem or is charged with a felony of the second or third degree for purchase or possession of a controlled substance under chapter 893, prostitution, tampering with evidence, solicitation for purchase of a controlled substance, or obtaining a prescription by fraud; who has not been charged with a crime involving violence, including, but not limited to, murder, sexual battery, robbery, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, or any other crime involving violence; and who has not previously been convicted of a felony is eligible for voluntary admission into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program, including a treatment-based drug court program established pursuant to s. 397.334, approved by the chief judge of the circuit, for a period of not less than 1 year in duration, upon motion of either party or the court's own motion, except:

  1. If a defendant was previously offered admission to a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program at any time prior to trial and the defendant rejected that offer on the record, then the court or the state attorney may deny the defendant's admission to such a program.

  2. If the state attorney believes that the facts and circumstances of the case suggest the defendant's involvement in the dealing and selling of controlled substances, the court shall hold a preadmission hearing. If the state attorney establishes, by a preponderance of the evidence at such hearing, that the defendant was involved in the dealing or selling of controlled substances, the court shall deny the defendant's admission into a pretrial intervention program.

Thus, to enter PTI without an agreement with the State Attorney, you must be charged with any of the following crimes: purchase or possession of a controlled substance under Chapter 893(i.e. Cocaine, Heroin, Cannabis, etc!), prostitution, tampering with evidence, solicitation for purchase of a controlled substance, or obtaining a prescription by fraud. Under a strict interpretation of the statute, only a person who has been charged with one of theses listed offenses is eligible for voluntary admission into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program, including a drug court program, upon motion of either party or the court's own motion. At the end of the pretrial intervention period, if the court determines that a defendant has not successfully completed the drug court program, the court may order further treatment or order that the charges revert to the normal channels for prosecution. After successful completion of a treatment-based drug court program, the charges must be dismissed. See § 948.08(6)(c).

Because PTI is such a statute driven program, I'm going to list it below, in all it's boring glory, for your reading pleasure....But when it comes time to make some decisions on your criminal case, you need to call me, John Guidry, I'll sort out the details, you sit back and relax.

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