Everyone is capable of making mistakes both big and small, and the South Carolina criminal justice system, thankfully, has come to realize this truth. The pretrial intervention program – often just called PTI – in the state allows certain people to avoid being slammed with certain criminal charges. Think of it as a stern warning from the law meant to put people back on the right track without putting them through the wringer.
Instead of going to trial and risk facing a conviction, people in the PTI program will instead participate in educational intervention programs, pay fees to the state (usually around $300), engage in at least 30 hours of community service, and provide restitution to the alleged victims. For example, if you are accused of stealing an item, restitution would likely be returning it and paying a small amount to the accuser for the inconvenience. Or, if you were accused of property damage, you might have to repair whatever was destroyed. At the end of the day, nearly any amount of restitution is better than having a mark on your criminal record.
Pretrial Intervention Sounds Great! Where Do I Sign Up?
There is no doubt that PTI can help you out of a particularly sticky situation, but not everyone may utilize it.
Applicants to PTI must:
- Be 17 years old or more
- Never have been convicted of a crime
- Be facing a nonviolent, non-DUI crime charge
- Get referral from a judge, law enforcement officer, or an attorney
One of the most difficult parts of being accepting into a pretrial intervention program is obtaining that referral. Judges and police officers are often hesitant to approve PTI due to the fact that it usually gives less money back to the state in fines. Luckily for potential offenders, retaining and teaming up with an attorney is always an option.
If you would like to learn more about PTI, or if you know you want to apply for it, contact our Columbia criminal defense lawyers from Masella Law Firm, P.A. With our guidance, we can help you apply for a PTI or even determine if fighting for your rights is the better option. We don't want to rule anything out when it comes to protecting our clients' rights. No time to talk? You can fill out a case evaluation form online and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.