We wanted to take some time today to explain the differences between a Pre-Trial Intervention and a Conditional Discharge, and how they work within the state of New Jersey. You’ll find that both a PTI (Pre-Trial Intervention) and a CD (Conditional Discharge) are most often used in drugs-related cases, and especially in the cases of first time offenders. Although some states are legalizing the use of marijuana, in an attempt to reduce the soaring legal costs involved in dealing with petty crime, use of this drug is still illegal in most of the United States.
The Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process of ordinary prosecution. PTI seeks to render early rehabilitative services, when such services can reasonably be expected to deter future criminal behavior. The PTI program is based on a rehabilitative model that recognizes that there may be an apparent causal connection between the offense charged and the rehabilitative needs of a defendant. Further, the rehabilitative model emphasizes that social, cultural, and economic conditions often result in a defendant’s decision to commit crime.
A PTI or CD is suitable for first time offenders, and only in cases where no first or second degree crime has taken place – effectively targeting people who are habitual users and not dealers, for example:
You can also only avail of these programs once, so they’re not a get-out-of-jail card which you can keep “playing” on a rolling basis. You’re also ineligible for either of these programs if you have any existing criminal convictions, especially drugs-related offenses. Also, If you have used up your Conditional Discharge you will be ineligible for PTI and conversely if you used up PTI than you will be ineligible for a Condition discharge in the future.
As with a CD a PTI reduces the strain on the American court system, freeing it to deal with more serious crimes and the criminals perpetrating them. One of the most important features of a PTI program is that at the end of your probationary period, there is no record of this conviction ever having taken place. A PTI is normally used at a Superior Court level, and conditional discharge is typically used in municipal courts.
Once you’ve paid the fees for a PTI enrollment program you will be interviewed and assessed for admissibility into it. You will then enter a supervisory treatment program which can last anywhere from 1 – 3-years in total, and this will involve random drug and psychological tests during that time – including random urine tests too, of course. Community service can also be included as part of the program, and then once the PTI is complete you enter into a 1-year probationary period.
This type of remedial program is typically used in municipal court’s. Again most CDs are used in first-time marijuana offense cases. When a CD is issued all legal proceedings are halted and you then enter into a supervisory treatment program, with one of the common condition that you would allow random drug screenings It’s also worth mentioning that applying for a CD involves fees totaling several hundred dollars.
If you’re a first time offender, involving a minor drugs-related crime, both a PTI and CD are viable options for dealing with your current legal issues.