If you're dealing with a criminal charge in Middlesex County, New Jersey, then you might be curious how you can guarantee that you don't end up with a criminal record. One potential option is pre-trial intervention. If you are accepted into a pre-trial intervention program and complete it successfully, then your criminal charge will be dismissed. Pre-trial intervention is limited to certain types of cases for certain individuals. If you have questions about the possibility of qualifying for pre-trial intervention in your case, then it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. An experienced lawyer should be able to give you a good idea if your case qualifies for pre-trial intervention.
What is Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-trial intervention is an alternative way to prosecute a case. If an individual is accepted into a pre-trial intervention program, then he or she will agree to be supervised by the court and abide by various conditions. If the individual completes all of the terms of his or her pre-trial intervention successfully, then the original criminal charges will be dismissed. If you are interested in seeking pre-trial intervention for your case, then it is important to know that intervention for your case has to be approved by the prosecutor and the judge. The most likely candidates to get pre-trial intervention are nonviolent first-time offenders. It is typical to be required to drug test, do community service, and perform other tasks as required by the court. After a successful pre-trial intervention is completed, the individual is further able to have the record of the case expunged once six months have passed. Pleading guilty may or may not be a requirement to obtain a pre-trial intervention. It is important to fully understand your rights before you give them up to enter into any agreement with the court.
Who Qualifies for Pre-Trial Intervention?
As discussed above, pre-trial intervention isn't for everyone. In New Jersey, the legal parameters of the state's pre-trial intervention program can be found at 2C:43-12 of the New Jersey Criminal Statutes. Generally, it is New Jersey law to limit pre-trial intervention to first-time offenders with no prior criminal record. The New Jersey pre-trial intervention program prioritizes acceptance for those who are nonviolent and are not likely to re-offend. Prosecutors decide whether to accept pre-trial interventions for each case individually. Pre-trial intervention is generally unavailable for more severe criminal charges that involve an injury to a victim. One of the stated goals of the New Jersey pre-trial intervention program is to help the court become more efficient and use its limited resources on more serious crimes. Pre-trial intervention can serve a great purpose in allowing you to avoid a criminal record and can also help the victim of a crime be paid restitution if any is owed.
What Factors Are Considered in Determining Pre-Trial Intervention?
Under New Jersey law, Middlesex County prosecutors are required to consider the circumstances of the case and the person charged to determine if a case will be accepted into pre-trial intervention. These circumstances include:
- The facts surrounding the incident itself
- If there are any victims
- The current age of the person charged
- The opinion of the victim about a pre-trial intervention
- If there are any potential mental health issues
These are just some of the circumstances that a prosecutor is required to examine when making a determination on pre-trial intervention for a case. Less serious offenses have a higher probability of qualifying for pre-trial intervention than more serious offenses.
What Are Some Other Pre-Trial Intervention Rules?
New Jersey pre-trial intervention is also governed by other guidelines that you need to know before agreeing to pre-trial intervention, including:
- You can only be granted pre-trial intervention once in your lifetime
- Domestic violence and misconduct by a public official accusations are generally not accepted into pre-trial intervention
- Any decisions on pre-trial intervention must be in writing and presented to the defendant
- You do have the ability to appeal a pre-trial intervention decision
- Any appeals will be heard by a superior court judge. This judge will have the ability to affirm or reverse the decision of the prosecutor
These are just some of the rules that might apply to your case. It is essential to understand and comprehend everything about the pre-trial intervention program before you agree to participate.
How Does Pre-Trial Intervention Work in Middlesex County?
If you are being prosecuted for a criminal offense in Middlesex County, then you are likely dealing with the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. This office is the same one that decides who is accepted into a pre-trial intervention program. Pre-trial intervention is generally only available for people who are charged with third-degree offenses and fourth-degree offenses. It is possible to get pre-trial intervention for some first-degree offenses, second-degree offenses, and drug distribution offenses, but you will need an exception to be made and special permission from the prosecutor. Middlesex County pre-trial intervention programs can be 1-3 years long. If you live up to your pre-trial intervention contract and complete all of its requirements, then your case will be dismissed. This approach can guarantee that a conviction never enters your criminal record.
What Are Some Requirements of Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-trial intervention is a responsibility that can come with several requirements. Some of the common conditions that a judge will require include:
- Substance abuse testing
- Required community service
Judges can order a variety of other requirements depending on the nature and circumstances of the case. If any property damage or injuries occurred because of the defendant's alleged actions in the case, then the judge will require that those items are compensated for. It is also common to be required to make regular court appearances so the judge can check in on your progress. You will likely be assigned a probation agent who will oversee your case and make sure that you complete all of the required terms. If you fail any of your requirements, then the probation agent can report that to the judge for discipline or further sanctions. If you fail to complete all of your requirements, then you can be removed from pre-trial intervention. You will likely only get one chance at pre-trial intervention.
What Happens If I Don't Complete Pre-Trial Intervention Successfully?
If you don't complete the terms of your pre-trial intervention agreement, then you will be taken out of pre-trial intervention, and your original case will be put back on the court's calendar. If this happens, then you are essentially starting your case over, back at the pre-trial stage. You may also be facing additional criminal charges for your activity while under pre-trial intervention. All of your time and effort on pre-trial intervention would then have been wasted by being kicked out of the program. Pre-trial intervention is an opportunity for control of your case. It allows you to make the decisions and take the actions necessary to ensure that you don't end up with a criminal record. If you don't complete pre-trial intervention, then you still have your regular opportunities to defend your case on its merits to a judge or jury. If the case looks strong against you, then it might be wise to consider a pre-trial intervention resolution if it is available. At the very least, it allows you the ability to make the call on whether you end up with a criminal conviction.
Do You Need an Attorney to Get Pre-Trial Intervention?
It is always your right to represent yourself in a criminal case if that is your choice. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney. You have the ability to choose that attorney, to make sure that your attorney can help put you in the best position to be successful. Also, if you attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor without an attorney present, then you may make incriminating statements that can be used against you in court. It is important to understand how you can appropriately negotiate with the prosecutor without giving up your case. It can be very helpful to have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney at any stage of a criminal matter.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have questions about pre-trial intervention, then you should speak to an attorney right away. It is essential to know what the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office is going to require when determining whether to accept someone into pre-trial intervention. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have helped many people, just like you, achieve their case goals. Make sure you choose the firm with the necessary knowledge and experience. To learn 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.