Pretrial Intervention And Drug Court: What Are They, And Am I Eligible?

If you have been arrested or charged with a narcotics crime, you may be eligible for one of two diversionary programs. The two programs are pretrial intervention and drug court. If eligible, these programs give you the possibility of having the charges completely dismissed, or by reducing or eliminating a potential jail sentence. The first program, pretrial intervention, or PTI as it is called, is a program normally for those without any previous criminal history. PTI consists of a short term of probation, usually around three months in duration for a misdemeanor, and one year for a felony charge. During this time, the person accused receives a drug evaluation, submits to random urinalysis, and performs community services hours. The person must also pay court costs and supervision fees. As would be expected, while in the PTI program you can not be arrested or charged with any new crimes. Out of state and seasonal residents are also eligible for the PTI program.

The advantage to entering the PTI program is that by successfully completing the program, all charges are dismissed against you, and for purposes of a “criminal record”, you were not convicted of any crime. This would entitle you to move to have the record of your charge either sealed or expunged, if you are otherwise eligible. The record sealing procedure is discussed in more detail on the next page.

Drug Court is a diversionary program, which unlike PTI, may be available even if you have a previous criminal history. Drug Court is designed for those persons who recognize they have a drug problem, and want to receive help in addressing it. The program is at least one year in duration, and is supervised much like a person on probation. Drug Court is a program consisting of intense drug counseling, drug testing, and regularly scheduled court appearance to insure compliance with the conditions of the program. Drug Court is probably not a viable option if you do not have a drug dependency issue. Successful completion of Drug Court, like pretrial intervention, may result in charges actually be dismissed against you. In other cases, completion of the program may allow you to either eliminate or reduce an otherwise inevitable jail or prison sentence.