We often get questions regarding the Pretrial Intervention program here in Florida. It is also commonly referred to as Pretrial Diversion Program in Florida. People are curious as to how it works, who is eligible, and whether it is a good idea to pursue. The first step if you have any specific questions about your own case is to contact a qualified attorney to assist you. Our Criminal Defense attorneys handle these cases regularly and are prepared to protect your rights. If you have any questions about the possibility entering the Pretrial Intervention for your Florida case, call our office any time at 850/681-7777 to set a free consultation.
In Leon County, and the rest of Florida, pretrial diversion is available for those who are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony in the third degree. There are some other requirements before entering the program:
Must be a first offender or convicted of no more than one nonviolent misdemeanor
Must have approval of the administrator of the program
Must have consent of the victim
Must have consent of the State Attorney
Must have approval by the judge who presided over the first appearance
The Pretrial Intervention program is a wonderful tool if an individual defendant qualifies. An experienced defense attorney can negotiate with the State Attorney in order to give you the best chance of getting that approval.
The program itself is structured very similarly to probation, you are given a set of conditions and a term to abide by them. If you successfully complete the program you will be released of it’s conditions. The place where Pretrial Intervention differs from probation is the end result, the charge that you were originally charged with will be dismissed.
The individual conditions vary, and are often tailored to the alleged crime and the individual. The often include fees, reporting, community service, and counseling. Alleged drug offenders have more specific stipulations, outlined in Florida Statutes Section 948.08.
The program allows individuals to avoid the cost, stress and time of a criminal trial. Aside from the trial, as long as you are able to complete the program there is zero chance of a criminal conviction, or the fees and jail time that could come with that. The crime itself does not go on your permanent record either. The arrest will still be there though, and show up in background checks as a dismissal, in order to remove the arrest you will need to have it expunged.
It is very important not to violate the terms of your Pretrial Intervention participation, this will give the prosecuting attorney the opportunity to immediately re-initiate the original charges. If you are found guilty, the sentencing judge will have knowledge of the failure under the program, and could take this into consideration.
This broad overview will not be perfect for all Leon Country and Florida residents who have been charged with a crime, if you need information about your specific case please contact a qualified criminal defense attorney who can help you and outline the best options. Our firm handles hundreds of cases which qualify for Pretrial Intervention under the statutory requirements, and we are prepared to assist you with choosing the best course of action, and negotiating to make sure that course of action is available. Feel free to contact our office any time at 850/681-7777 to set a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.