NJ PTI Is A Quick Way To Be Done With Your Criminal Charges
NJ PTI - Overview
NJ Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is “generally” for first-time offenders. In rare cases, someone with a prior felony conviction may find a way to get into the program. If you’re facing an indictable charge, PTI is one way to avoid prison & keep your record clean. PTI is a diversionary program that imposes conditions that you must satisfy. Although the PTI program may take up to three years, it’s way better than going to prison and getting a criminal conviction.
Now, not all crimes are eligible for PTI.
Just because you have a clean record, doesn’t mean that you’ll get into NJ PTI.
For example, if they charge you with Aggravated Assault because you put someone in a coma, chances are that you will not get admitted into the NJ PTI program.
Think of it this way:
The vast majority of first-time offenders with 3rd or 4th-degree felonies will be eligible for PTI.
If you’ve been charged with a serious 1st or 2nd-degree felony, NJ PTI is a long shot. As your criminal lawyers, we would have to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor to get your felony charges downgraded. This is not an easy thing to do but we’ve done it.
Your eligibility for NJ PTI will depend on a number of factors:
- The nature of the offense;
- The facts of your case;
- Your age & motivation;
- Whether or not the crime is of a “violent nature”
One of our Hudson county clients was facing first-degree aggravated sexual assault. The case took two years & after we finished our investigation, we were able to successfully challenge much of the evidence against our client. As a result, we got his first-degree charges downgraded to fourth-degree charges & he was admitted into PTI.
Don’t feel like reading?
This helpful video explains the basics of NJ PTI.
PTI - Who Should Apply?
You must wait until your criminal defense attorney has received the “Discovery” in your case.
Discovery is the (fancy) legal term for evidence.
You need to know what evidence the State of New Jersey has against you before you make any decisions.
Very simply, if the evidence against you is weak, then your lawyer may get your case dropped to a misdemeanor.
Now, if the evidence of your guilt is very strong, then you should ask your lawyer to put all of his efforts into getting you NJ PTI.
PTI - How Long Is It?
Probation under New Jersey’s pretrial intervention program can run from 6 months to 3 years.
PTI - Conditions
There are two types of conditions: Standard Conditions & Special Conditions.
- usually involve reporting to probation, random urine monitoring and the payment of fines, court costs, and penalties.
In addition, the court expects that you will maintain employment.
- involve community service, the payment of restitution (to victims), psychological evaluations, drug & alcohol evaluations, and of course substance abuse treatment programs.
If you were drunk or high when you committed a crime, then courts find it necessary that you get help for drug and alcohol abuse.
See more below on this topic.
PTI - Violations
NJ PTI violations carry serious consequences. When you violate the terms of your probation, you’re showing the court that you’re not serious. In other words, you’ve been given a chance to avoid prison & keep your record clean but instead, you’re wasting it.
In addition, you will give the county prosecutor’s office cause to kick you out of the program.
For example, if you commit a “new crime”, or fail to report to probation, or fail to remain drug-free, the county prosecutor’s office will file an application with the court to terminate you from probation.
If you are terminated from NJ PTI, you are back to square one.
Remember how you felt the day you were arrested?
Well, that’s how you’ll feel all over again when you get terminated from Pretrial Intervention.
Your criminal charges are “reinstated” and now the county prosecutor and judge both know that you wasted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Once NJ PTI is off the table, you will only have two choices: Plead Guilty OR got to trial.
I'm Facing A Felony, Can I Apply For PTI?
However, the New Jersey Pretrial Intervention program is only for certain felonies. Only 3rd and 4th-degree crimes are eligible for PTI.
If you are charged with a 2nd-degree felony, we will do everything we can to get the charge downgraded to a 3rd or 4th-degree crime. Here’s a quick reference chart of NJ crime degrees.
In this way, you will have a fighting chance of getting into NJ PTI.
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Top 7 Ways To End The Nightmare
Can I Get PTI If My Charges Involve Domestic Violence?
If you’ve been charged with a felony arising out of a Domestic Violence situation, NJ PTI is not an option.
If your charges were committed when you had a Temporary or Final Restraining Order entered against you, you will need to disclose this on your PTI application.
Read more about Restraining Order Violation Consequences
Is PTI Pleading Guilty?
There are two types of NJ PTI.
The first is a “no-plea” PTI where you do not have to admit or take responsibility for the underlying charge.
The second is a “guilty-plea” PTI where you do have to plead guilty.
There is no way to know which type of NJ PTI plea will be demanded of you.
Everything depends on the type of charge & the prosecutor’s position at the time of your admission to PTI.
Does PTI Show Up On A Background Check?
Your participation in PTI will not show up a background check.
However, if you have successfully completed PTI your charges will be dismissed.
It’s like they never happened.
Now, you still have to expunge the record of your arrest.
If you do not expunge your arrest record, it will show up a background check.
PTI - Standard Conditions
This is a very common question.
There are “standard” conditions that apply to all NJ PTI participants.
Standard PTI conditions:
Include the following:
- Remain arrest-free – you cannot pick up new charges;
- You must report to your probation officer;
- You must be honest with your probation officer;
- Your probation must be allowed to visit you;
- You must report any address change;
- You must seek permission to move out of state;
- You must maintain employment;
- You must cooperate with any treatment your probation officer deems necessary
We’ve included a Standard Conditions of PTI Supervision form for your review.
PTI - Drug Testing
Not every NJ PTI participant will be required to submit to drug testing.
If your criminal charges involved drugs OR if you were under the influence of drugs/alcohol, then it is highly likely that one of your PTI conditions will be to submit to drug/alcohol testing.
In addition to the Standard Conditions discussed above, you may have “Special Conditions” placed on you.
Include the following:
- Loss of driving privileges;
- Drug testing;
- Alcohol testing;
- Drug Counseling;
- Alcohol Counseling;
- Psychological testing;
- Psychological Counseling
We’ve included a Special Conditions of PTI Supervision form for your review.
You might be asking:
“If I complete PTI successfully, what happens to my record?” OR
“How long do I have to wait before I can expunge my PTI in New Jersey?”
The answer is you can definitely expunge the record of your “arrest” after your successful completion of PTI.
Remember, with PTI, you will not get a conviction, so there is no need to expunge a conviction.
However, you will need to wait six months AFTER you complete NJ PTI to expunge the “arrest” record.
It is extremely important to expunge the record of your arrest because this will pop up on any & all background checks.
PTI - Community Service
Again, each case is different, but the answer is “yes”.
PTI in NJ will most likely involve community service:
What types of community service will I have to do if I get PTI?
If you are ordered to perform community service, here are some types of things you may be asked to do:
- Clean up litter on the street;
- Help out at a soup kitchen (remember, you’re helping society)
- Wash the Sheriff’s patrol cars;
Also, if you have a special skill, you may be given a list of places where you can apply your skill. If you’re a trained chef, you may be able to perform your community service as a chef somewhere.
The truth is that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to community service. Just be expected to help society in some way. It’s all about paying your debt to society!
When You Finish PTI, Do You Have To Go Back To Court?
Yes, but this is the one and only court appearance you will absolutely look forward to.
This is the day where your entire criminal case will be dismissed.
You will feel a giant sense of relief as this chapter will finally be closed.
Life will return back to normal and you will have learned a lot from the whole experience.
Does Municipal Court Have PTI?
YES, but it is not called PTI in Municipal court.
It is called a Conditional Discharge for drugs and a Conditional Dismissal for everything else.
Can I Get PTI If I Live In Another State?
If you are from Florida and were charged with a crime while visiting New Jersey, you may get PTI if Florida is willing to accept the “transfer” of your probation.
In other words, you will still need to meet the same PTI conditions set by a New Jersey court while you live in Florida.
If you live in a state that is not willing to supervise you during your PTI period, then things get complicated.
For example, we have successfully transferred our client’s NJ PTI supervision to their “home state”.
We recently transferred an NJ PTI participant’s supervision to Connecticut and he was very happy.
He gets along much better with his new CT probation officer!
PTI - Costs
The PTI Application is only $75.00 (seventy-five).
There is an important deadline to be aware of:
you ONLY have 28 days to apply for PTI once you’ve been “indicted”.
In very simple terms, to be indicted means that the government is serious about convicting you.
This does not include fines, penalties, and restitution.
Since every case is different, we cannot tell you how much you will have to pay when everything is done.
The person conducting your NJ PTI interview is not “out to get you”.
He/she just needs some basic information about you.
Very simply, the probation officer needs to know:
- your address;
- who you live with (family size);
- which phone number to reach you on;
- where you work;
- prior record (if any)
- do you have any alcohol/drug problems;
Assuming that you have hired an attorney to represent you, your attorney should take a few minutes to help you prepare for your PTI interview.
They are not very lengthy interviews, nor are they difficult or complicated.
However, as with anything in life, if you become uncomfortable, you can always ask to take a break, step in the hall and contact your attorney.
We’ve never had this happen to a client, but there’s always a first.
Can I Appeal A PTI Denial?
Although appeals can be expensive, it’s definitely worth the money to try.
Remember, Pretrial Intervention is your one and only get-out-of-jail-free card. If you have a strong argument for an appeal, it is definitely worth the time and money to appeal.
I highly recommend that you hire an aggressive, criminal defense attorney to represent you during your NJ PTI Appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
Additional PTI Resources
New Jersey is made up of 21 counties.
Each county has a local Superior Court Criminal Division responsible for the PTI program.
This list will contain the following important information:
- Name of County Criminal Division Manager
- Phone w/extension
- Fax number
To best help you, we’ve provided the most recently updated list of each NJ PTI here.
NJ’s PTI program is the best and quickest way for you to avoid getting a criminal conviction and avoid prison.
But before you apply for PTI, it is absolutely necessary to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
If you have a very strong defense, you may not need NJ PTI and can avoid the lengthy supervision and reporting requirements altogether.
To better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case, we will help you for FREE
You can tell us your side of the story and ask us anything.
You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.