If you are currently facing criminal prosecution in Camden County, New Jersey, then it is important to understand all of your potential options in resolving your case. One of these potential options is known as pre-trial intervention. If pre-trial intervention is available to you, then it can result in your criminal charges being dismissed altogether. Pre-trial intervention is only for specific types of cases and offenders. If you are curious about the potential of pre-trial intervention in your case, then make sure you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can guide you. An experienced attorney can assess the potential of your case's eligibility for pre-trial intervention.
What is Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-trial intervention is a different approach to criminal prosecution. It is an approach that is based on the idea of second chances and rehabilitation. If your case is given pre-trial intervention treatment, then you will have to agree to follow a set of rules and conditions for a period of time. You will also be monitored by a probation agent who reports your progress and any mistakes along the way. If you can complete all of the terms of your pre-trial intervention contract, then your original charges will be dismissed. Pre-trial intervention must be approved by both the prosecutor and judge. People who are facing criminal charges for the first time and those who are considered nonviolent are those who are most commonly accepted into pre-trial intervention. You may have to submit to random drug and/or alcohol tests, perform community service, or other requirements as part of your pre-trial intervention contract. After you complete your pre-trial intervention and your case is dismissed, you are eligible to have the record of your charge and arrest expunged after six months. You might be required to plead guilty to a criminal offense to be granted pre-trial intervention. Make sure you fully understand the rights that you are giving up by agreeing to pre-trial intervention.
Who Qualifies for Pre-Trial Intervention?
The pre-trial intervention system in New Jersey is outlined by New Jersey law. You can find the rules of the pre-trial intervention system at 2C:43-12 of the New Jersey Criminal Statutes. Pre-trial intervention generally excludes those who have a prior criminal record, have been granted pre-trial intervention before, or have been accused of a major offense. Each case is determined individually by the prosecutor in charge of the case. One of the major goals of pre-trial intervention is to allow the court to more properly allocate its judicial and enforcement resources. The state legislature recognizes that the courts should focus their efforts on prosecuting more serious cases that require more of the court's resources and time. Because of this, people who are charged with minor offenses are given the opportunity to get past their mistakes without ending up with a criminal record. If you are denied pre-trial intervention in Camden County, then you have 10 days to appeal.
What Factors Are Considered in Determining Pre-Trial Intervention?
In Camden County, prosecutors are required to follow the parameters outlined by New Jersey law when it comes to determining who is granted pre-trial intervention. Some of the required factors that prosecutors must consider includes:
- The defendant's age
- The jurisdiction of the case
- If there is any prior criminal record
- The type of violation
- If there are any medical or mental health issues present
Several other factors will likely be examined before a prosecutor will decide whether an individual will be granted pre-trial intervention. If your case is considered a serious or major offense, then your probability of receiving pre-trial intervention is much lower.
What Are Some Other Pre-Trial Intervention Rules?
There are several other pre-trial intervention rules that you will be expected to follow if you are accepted into a pre-trial intervention program; they include:
- The law has a presumption against granting pre-trial intervention to those who are charged with domestic violence
- The law has a presumption against granting pre-trial intervention to those who are charged with misconduct by a public official
- All pre-trial intervention decisions must be made in writing by the prosecutor and given to the defendant
- If you appeal a pre-trial intervention decision, then a superior court judge will hear and decide the appeal.
Other pre-trial intervention rules may apply to you. Make certain that you fully understand the full scope of pre-trial intervention before you apply, so you know what you are getting into.
How Does Pre-Trial Intervention Work in Camden County?
If you are currently facing criminal prosecution in Camden County, then the prosecution is likely headed by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. This is also the same office where you apply to be admitted into a pre-trial intervention program. Pre-trial intervention is generally only granted to those charged with third- and fourth-degree offenses. You may be granted pre-trial intervention for a first-degree, second-degree offense, or drug distribution offenses, but you will need special prosecutor consent. Camden County pre-trial intervention programs can be 6 months to 3 years long. Pre-trial intervention must be requested no later than 28 days after the indictment of criminal charges. There is also a $75 application fee that is non-refundable.
What Are Some Requirements of Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-trial intervention comes with many requirements and responsibilities. If you agree to pre-trial intervention, then some of the things you will be expected to do include:
- Potential counseling or treatment
- A substance abuse assessment
- Potential restitution and court fines
- Potential community service work
Your pre-trial intervention will also be specifically tailored to the factors that are involved in your case. If your actions caused someone else to incur additional costs, then you will be required to pay restitution to the victim. You can also be required to make court appearances or report to probation while on pre-trial intervention. You will likely have a probation agent monitoring your progress and if you fail a drug/alcohol test or fail to complete any of the terms of your pre-trial intervention, then you can be brought into court to face discipline from the judge. You face being removed from pre-trial intervention if you don't follow the judge's instructions. If this happens, you will likely never get another chance, as pre-trial intervention is only offered once.
What Happens If I Don't Complete Pre-Trial Intervention Successfully?
As discussed above, your pre-trial intervention can last as long as three years. During this time, if you violate the terms of your pre-trial intervention, then you can be removed from the program altogether. If this happens, then your original charges will be reinstated, and your case will be inserted back on the judge's calendar. You will be back at the same point you were on when you first requested a pre-trial intervention, the pre-trial stage. If you were removed from pre-trial intervention for allegedly breaking the law again, then you may also face new criminal charges as well. This would represent a lost opportunity for you to take control of your case and your life. If you are removed from pre-trial intervention, then you likely wasted time, money, and effort without much to show for it. If you are back at the pre-trial stage of your case, then you still have the opportunity to defend your case in front of a judge or jury. The failure to complete pre-trial intervention successfully results in one less option for you to resolve your criminal case without a criminal conviction.
Do You Need an Attorney to Get Pre-Trial Intervention?
Under the United States Constitution, you have the right to represent yourself in a criminal proceeding if you wish. The Sixth Amendment also gives you the right to have an attorney assist you in any proceeding. You also can choose your attorney to make sure you have the best one for your case. It is difficult to negotiate your case without an attorney because you are dealing with enforcement authorities who can use any of your statements against you in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney will have the negotiation experience to appropriately discuss the parameters of a potential pre-trial intervention for your case. Having the help of an experienced lawyer can make the world of difference in your criminal case.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have questions about pre-trial intervention possibilities for you, then you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Understanding what the Camden County Prosecutor's Office is looking for when considering accepting into pre-trial intervention is essential. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have helped countless people just like you to achieve their case goals. Select the law firm with the necessary knowledge and experience. To see why attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are the right choice to help you with your criminal case, call us toll-free at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.