What Is Pre-Trial Intervention Or PTI?
If you are charged with certain crimes in the state of South Carolina, then Pretrial Intervention ("PTI") is a diversionary program that could be the best option for you to avoid being prosecuted and convicted of that crime. Upon successful completion of PTI, the person charged with a crime has the opportunity to have his or her charges dismissed and expunged from his or her criminal record. Each circuit solicitor in the state of South Carolina, pursuant to Section 17-22-10 of S.C. Code of Laws, is given much discretion to establish and run their own version of the PTI program. However, the law does prohibit specific people from entering the PTI program. That is why it is so important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss whether your case would qualify for PTI.
Does everyone qualify for Pretrial Intervention?
Although each solicitor has discretion in establishing their own PTI program, the South Carolina Code of Laws does specifically prohibit certain individuals from entering into the program. For example, a person previously accepted into PTI or someone charged with DUI, are not eligible for PTI. Whereas domestic violence, under certain circumstances, could be eligible for PTI.
Even if you are eligible for PTI, you are not guaranteed a spot in the program. The State has discretion whether to offer PTI to you or not. In other words, just because you are charged with a crime that qualifies for PTI, you are not ensured of getting into the PTI program unless the State offers that option to you. Each circuit solicitor has his or her own policy for who can be admitted to PTI and who is forbidden from the diversionary program. As former solicitors with years of experience in dealing with PTI cases, please contact our office for more information on whether you would qualify for PTI based on which circuit your case is in.
Do I qualify for PTI if I have a criminal record?
It depends. If you have not already been accepted into a PTI program in the past and, if you have a very minimal criminal record, then you may still qualify for the PTI diversionary program. If, however, you have a significant criminal history or have already gone through PTI, then this program will probably not be an option for you. Ultimately, it will be up to the solicitor to make the PTI offer to you. Contact Young & Young to discuss whether PTI or another option is available for your specific criminal case.
Does the PTI program cost any money and what do I have to do once I am in the PTI program?
There are certain fees associated with the PTI diversionary program. At the beginning of the process, there is the initial application fee of $100. Once your application is reviewed and it is determined that you are accepted into the PTI program, then there is a $250 fee to officially enter into the program. If your specific case requires you to pass drug tests, then you would have a $30 fee for each test if there are two or more.
Requirements for PTI and how long it takes you to complete the program vary depending on your specific case. In some instances, you may have to pass regular drug tests, complete community service, counseling, domestic abuse counseling, or jail visits. Sometimes it takes nine months to complete whereas in other cases it takes six months. In other words, the PTI requirements are catered to your specific situation and charge.
Do I still need a lawyer even if I am eligible for PTI?
As mentioned above, even if you are eligible for PTI, there is no guarantee that the solicitor will offer the program to you. Additionally, it is so important for you to discuss your options with our office because, as former prosecutors and experienced criminal defense attorneys, we will be able to inform you if PTI is the right option for you. It is important to remember that you only get to complete PTI one time. We have the background to correctly analyze your specific case and determine whether you should "use up" your one shot at PTI or whether there is another option better suited for you. There could be facts about your case that only an experienced criminal defense attorney would recognize and argue for a dismissal without having to go through the pretrial intervention program. Contact Young & Young, Attorneys at Law for a free consultation and we will help you make an informed decision on your criminal case.