The Pretrial Intervention Program is guided by Rule 3:28. The guidlines are complex and it is essential that an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense attorney guide someone through the rules to help the defendant be admitted into the program.
Contrary to popular misunderstanding any defendant charged with a crime is eligible to be considered for the PTI program, even defendants who have had a previous conviction. However, admittance into the program is a one time opportunity. However, a defendant charged with a first or second degree crime, or a crime in which distribution of CDS is charged by person not drug dependent, or crimes of violence should not ordinarily be considered. However, if the defendant can prove by clear and convincing evidence that he should be admitted he can appeal his or her rejection to the assignment judge or judge in which he is before, within 10 days of the objection letter.
In a small victory for defendant’s wishing to enter the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI), the Superior Court Appellate Division ruled in State v. P.A.C., that a disabled college graduate who was caught selling illegal drugs with a price list for the costs of specific drugs should have been admitted into the program, overturning the trial court’s denial of her admission.
The prosecutor citing R. 3:28 Guideline 3(i) states that a person charged with distribution who is not dependent on illegal substances should not ordinarily be considered for admission into the program.
In order to overturn a prosecutor’s rejection of the PTI application, the defendant must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the prosecutor’s rejection was based on patent and gross abuse of discretion.
In State v. Watkins, 193 N.J. 507 (2007), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that where the prosecutor has made a legal error there is relatively low threshold for court intervention to override the prosecutor’s rejection. This case sheds some hope for defendants attempting to be accepted into the PTI program, and hopefully will give county prosecutors some pause and reconsideration before they reject applicants charged with intent to distribute or distribute cases.
Attorney Results: Recently in Esses County Superior Court I was successful in gaining the admission of my client who was indicted for second degree arson, second degree insurance fraud, and third degree theft by deception. The defendant a registered alien would have been deported if he took any plea to any of the charges. In this case a plea of probation was offered to a plea of a fourth degree charge of filing a false police report. After the third trial call, the prosecutor obtained approval of my client's admittance into the program, in which all the charges will be dismissed after one year.