If you are being prosecuted for a criminal charge in Monmouth County, New Jersey, then you might be curious how you can ensure that you don't end up with a criminal conviction. Pre-trial intervention can help you avoid a conviction if you are successful. If you complete the terms of your pre-trial intervention, then your criminal charges will be forever dismissed. Make sure that your case qualifies for pre-trial intervention as it does not apply to all types of cases. If you have questions about pre-trial intervention in Monmouth County, then make sure that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can give you the proper guidance about the potential of being admitted into a pre-trial intervention program.
What is Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-trial intervention lets people enter into a supervision contract with the prosecutor and judge that can result in a dismissal of the existing criminal charges. Pre-trial intervention is not available to everyone. Your pre-trial intervention must be approved by the prosecutor as well as the judge. Those who are considered low risk and nonviolent are more likely to be awarded the opportunity to be on a pre-trial intervention program. It is common for those on pre-trial intervention to drug test, do community service, and pay any restitution owed, among other requirements. Once you complete pre-trial intervention and your case is dismissed, you are eligible to have the record of that case expunged after six months. You may or may not have to plead guilty to the charge to be admitted into a pre-trial intervention. Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities before you seek a pre-trial intervention.
Who Qualifies for Pre-Trial Intervention?
New Jersey law outlines the legal structure of the state's pre-trial intervention program. Pursuant to 2C:43-12 of the New Jersey Criminal Statutes, it is the stated policy to limit pre-trial intervention to those who have never before been convicted of a crime. The law further states that an individual qualifies for pre-trial intervention when they are unlikely to get in trouble again, and they are nonviolent. Pre-trial interventions are decided on a case-by-case basis. Serious criminal charges that involve harm to another are generally ineligible for pre-trial intervention. Pre-trial intervention exists in the state of New Jersey to not just help people avoid having a criminal record but also to help the court's efficiency and focus on more serious crimes. If pre-trial intervention is used correctly, then it can help both the defendant and the victim of the case if there is one.
What Factors Are Considered in Determining Pre-Trial Intervention?
Prosecutors must consider several factors under New Jersey law prosecutors when assessing a case's eligibility for pre-trial intervention. A few of the factors that prosecutors must consider include:
- The nature and intent of the incident
- The facts and circumstances of the incident
- The offender's age
- What the victim thinks about the prosecution of the case
- If there are any mental health considerations
There are several other factors that a prosecutor must consider before deciding to grant pre-trial intervention. If an incident is considered less serious, then it is more likely that a defendant will be approved for pre-trial intervention by the prosecutor.
What Are Some Other Pre-Trial Intervention Rules?
There are several other pre-trial intervention rules that are important to know. Some of these rules include:
- In the state of New Jersey, you can only be admitted into a pre-trial intervention program once. You are only allowed one pre-trial intervention during your lifetime.
- If your case involves an allegation of domestic violence or misconduct of a public official, then you face an automatic presumption against being admitted into pre-trial intervention.
- A prosecutor's decision regarding the acceptance or denial of an individual into a pre-trial intervention program is required to be in writing and given to the applicant.
- Appeals of any decision regarding an individual's acceptance into pre-trial intervention can be done in accordance with the New Jersey Rules of Court.
- Pre-trial intervention decision appeals are heard and decided by a superior court judge. This judge will be looking to determine whether the prosecutor abused their discretion by denying pre-trial intervention.
Other pre-trial intervention rules might apply to you. Make sure you understand the full parameters of any pre-trial intervention program.
How Does Pre-Trial Intervention Work in Monmouth County?
If you are facing a criminal charge in Monmouth County, then the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is who determines whether an individual is accepted into a pre-trial intervention. The decision of whether to grant an individual pre-trial intervention lies with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. This office offers pre-trial intervention to those who are charged with third- or fourth-degree criminal offenses. If someone is facing a first- or second-degree charge, or a charge of drug distribution, then that person will need special permission to be accepted into a pre-trial intervention. Pre-trial intervention in Monmouth County can last anywhere from 1-3 years. If you finish all of the terms of your pre-trial intervention successfully, then your original criminal charges are forever dismissed. This also results in no criminal conviction being entered on your criminal record. All pre-trial intervention agreements are required to be in writing and signed by all parties.
What Are Some Requirements of Pre-Trial Intervention?
A judge can order whatever requirements they see fit for pre-trial intervention, but there are some common expectations, including:
- Drug/alcohol testing
- Paying any owed restitution
- Community service
These are just some of the examples of what a judge may require. Each case is examined and viewed individually, so a judge can order whatever he or she feels is necessary to compensate any victims while rehabilitating the defendant. A defendant on pre-trial intervention will be expected to compensate the victim for any injuries or property damage and may also be expected to appear in court and report to a probation agent. If you are accepted into a pre-trial intervention, then you will be supervised by a probation agent. If you fail a drug test or don't otherwise follow the judge's orders in a pre-trial intervention agreement, then you can be removed from the program. If this happens, then you will probably never get a second chance at pre-trial intervention.
What Happens If I Don't Complete Pre-Trial Intervention Successfully?
If you are accepted into a pre-trial intervention program but fail to complete the necessary requirements, then you will be removed from the program, and your case will be put back on the regular court calendar. All of your efforts and expenses up to that point for your pre-trial intervention will be for naught as we will be starting at square one in your criminal case again.
It is possible that you may also be charged with new criminal offenses depending on your alleged activity. Pre-trial intervention is helpful because it allows defendants to have the ability to control the outcome of their cases. If all of the requirements of pre-trial intervention are met, then the case goes away. If you don't complete the requirements of pre-trial intervention, then you might be facing a bunch of new problems. If this happens, then you still have all of the typical ways to defend your case, including taking your case to a trial. If your case looks like a difficult case to win a trial, then a pre-trial intervention might be your best option to avoid ending up with a criminal conviction.
Do You Need an Attorney to Get Pre-Trial Intervention?
It is your right to represent yourself if you choose in a criminal case. This may sound like a good approach, but there are many potential pitfalls. If you attempt to have settlement discussions of any kind with a prosecutor, then your statements could potentially be used against you by the prosecutor. It is important to understand what a pre-trial intervention negotiation should focus on, so you don't get off track or lose the opportunity for this type of treatment. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you in several ways, including negotiating appropriate terms for your pre-trial intervention so you can be most successful.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you are wondering if you qualify for pre-trial intervention, then it is important to seek an experienced criminal defense attorney's advice. Understanding what the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is looking for when evaluating whether to accept someone into pre-trial intervention can be extremely important. If you understand what is required, then you put yourself in the best position to be successful. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have the necessary knowledge and experience that you need to help you find success with your case. To learn why attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm are the right choice to help you get past your criminal case, call us toll-free at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.