PTI in New Jersey
Everything you need to know in five minutes
Think of Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) as your ONE & ONLY Get-out-of-Jail-Free card. It’s the QUICKEST way to be done with your Felony arrest.
PTI in NJ is “generally” for first-time offenders. In rare cases, someone with a prior felony conviction may find a way to get in to PTI, but don’t get your hopes up.
It almost never happens.
Not All Crimes Are Eligible For PTI
Now, not all crimes are eligible for PTI.
Just because you have a clean record, doesn’t mean that you’ll get into PTI.
For example, if you crack someone in the head (Aggravated Assault) with a baseball bat and put them in a coma.
Hell no! To help you keep it simple, 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, Pretrial Intervention is a long shot.
This helpful video explains the basics of PTI.
When should you apply for PTI?
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 PTI.
PTI: How long is it?
Pretrial intervention in New Jersey can run from 6 months to 3 years.
Your eligibility for PTI will depend on a number of factors:
The nature of the offense;
If I get into PTI, what conditions are placed on me?
There are basically two types of conditions: Standard Conditions & Special Conditions.
Standard 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.
Special conditions involve community service, the payment of restitution (to victims), psychological evaluations, drug & alcohol evaluations, and of course substance abuse treatment programs.
After all, 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.
What happens if I violate PTI?
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 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.
If PTI is off the table, you will only have two choices: Plead Guilty OR got to trial.
Can you get PTI for a felony in NJ?
Yes. However, the New Jersey Pretrial Intervention program is only for certain felonies. Only 3rd and 4th-degree crimes are eligible for PTI. However, 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. In this way, you will have a fighting chance of getting into PTI. Suggested reading:
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, PTI is not an option. Text Terroristic Threat 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.
Will I be drug tested for PTI?
Not every 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.
Can PTI get Expunged?
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 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.
Does PTI involve community service?
Again, each case is different, but the answer is “yes”, PTI in NJ will most likely involve community service:
Next question: 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 NJ 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.
You can learn more about Conditional Discharge on the link above.
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!
How much does it cost?
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.
What goes on during your PTI interview?
The person conducting your 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.
If my PTI is denied, can I appeal it?
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 PTI Appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
NJ’s Pretrial Intervention 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 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. We’ve helped a lot of clients get accepted into PTI or avoid it altogether.
You can click on this NJ Court’s link if you would like more information about New Jersey’s PTI program.