If you have been charged with a crime in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, then you are staring down the possibility of ending up with a criminal conviction and being sent to jail. One way to avoid a criminal conviction and a jail sentence is known as pre-trial intervention. If you are charged with a crime and are placed in pre-trial intervention, then your charges can be dismissed if you complete all of your requirements. Pre-trial intervention must be applied for and individually accepted by the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor has the power to grant or deny a defendant's admission into a pre-trial intervention program under New Jersey law. If you have legal questions, then make sure you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-trial intervention is a first-time offender's program that generally functions like probation, but it is ordered before a conviction is entered as opposed to after. You must ask for pre-trial intervention in writing, and the application must be directed to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office will determine who qualifies for pre-trial intervention and will notify successful applicants in writing. The judge also must agree to place the defendant in a pre-trial intervention program and will monitor the defendant if he or she does place the defendant in pre-trial intervention. Nonviolent, first-time offenders are the most likely candidates to be admitted into pre-trial intervention. Those who are admitted into pre-trial intervention will be expected to follow all the orders of the judge, which can include things like substance abuse testing, treatment, and required community service. Those on pre-trial intervention also may have to regularly report to probation or appear in court.
Who Qualifies for Pre-Trial Intervention?
The parameters of the pre-trial intervention program are outlined in the New Jersey Criminal Statutes at 2C:43-12. In examining this statute, you will see that first-time offenders are the best candidates for admission into a pre-trial intervention program. The prosecutor will examine the case and the applicant to determine if the applicant is a good fit for intervention. If it appears that the defendant will likely never get in trouble again nor become violent, then those things can go a long way towards being admitted into pre-trial intervention.
What Factors Are Considered in Determining Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pursuant to the pre-trial intervention statute, prosecutors are expected to examine all of the relevant available information about a case when deciding whether to grant an application for pre-trial intervention. Specifically, a prosecutor will look into:
- The alleged nature of the crime
- The criminal intent of the defendant
- The age of the defendant
The prosecutor also has the right to evaluate any other relevant factors in reviewing a case for pre-trial intervention. If the criminal offense involves an alleged victim, then the opinion of that alleged victim may be included when making a pre-trial intervention decision.
What Are Some Other Pre-Trial Intervention Rules?
Some of the most important rules relating to pre-trial intervention include:
- Pre-trial intervention will only be given once to an individual during his or her lifetime.
- Anyone facing domestic violence or misconduct of a public official charges faces a presumption against acceptance into pre-trial intervention. If you are charged with one of these offenses, then you will have to present evidence to convince the prosecutor to grant pre-trial intervention in spite of that presumption.
- All pre-trial intervention decisions are required to be in writing and delivered to the defendant.
- State court rules dictate how appeals are handled.
- Superior Court judges have the authority to hear pre-trial intervention appeals. To win an appeal, a Superior Court judge must be convinced that the prosecutor abused their discretion in denying pre-trial intervention.
An expungement of any arrest records can be sought six months after the completion of a pre-trial intervention. Understanding the rules and standards of pre-trial intervention can be extremely helpful in determining if intervention is appropriate. Any legal questions should be discussed with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
How Does Pre-Trial Intervention Work in Hunterdon County?
If you are facing a criminal prosecution in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, then the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office has the authority under state law to decide if an individual can be entered into pre-trial intervention. Third- and fourth-degree offenses are the most likely to be accepted into pre-trial intervention based on New Jersey law. All first-degree, second-degree, and drug offenses should not expect to receive pre-trial intervention.
If you are accepted into pre-trial intervention in Hunterdon County, then expect it to last as long as three years. Once all pre-trial intervention requirements are completed, then the criminal case and prosecution will end with a dismissal of the charges. This dismissal occurs as a result of the pre-trial intervention contract being fulfilled by the defendant. All pre-trial intervention contracts must be signed by the defendant, their lawyer, the prosecutor, and the judge. Any violations of pre-trial intervention can result in termination from the program and the reinstatement of the original criminal charges.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have any legal questions about the pre-trial intervention process in Hunterdon County, then make sure to seek answers from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office has specific authority to determine if someone will be admitted into pre-trial intervention. It is important to know what the prosecutor requires when deciding whether to accept an individual into pre-trial intervention. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you obtain pre-trial intervention for your case. They will lean on this experience to help put you in the best position to avoid a criminal conviction. To learn why attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm is the right choice for you, call us at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.