People who face criminal charges in Somerset County, New Jersey, are faced with the potential of incarceration and a criminal record. One potential way to avoid both of these things is known as pre-trial intervention. Successful completion of pre-trial intervention will allow someone to avoid a criminal conviction and can ultimately result in the charges against them being dismissed. Cases are individually examined for pre-trial intervention and must be approved by the prosecutor beforehand. If you have questions about pre-trial intervention in Somerset County, then make sure that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
What is Pre-Trial Intervention?
Prosecutors' offices across the state of New Jersey each individually operate some form of pre-trial intervention, which places certain individuals under a period of probation which can result in pending criminal charges to be dismissed. Cases are individually admitted into a pre-trial intervention after they are examined by a prosecutor. You will need both the prosecutor and judge's approval before being placed in a pre-trial intervention program. Pre-trial intervention is generally reserved for individuals who are charged with a crime for the first time and are not accused of a violent crime. Those who are accepted into pre-trial intervention should expect to do things like drug tests and perform community service, along with other requirements from the judge. You may or may not be required to plead guilty to be entered into pre-trial intervention.
Who Qualifies for Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-trial intervention programs are authorized statewide by New Jersey law. Under New Jersey Criminal Statutes 2C:43-12, the general requirements of pre-trial intervention are outlined. Pre-trial intervention is a potential option for those who have never been previously convicted of a crime. The prosecutor will assess the potential of the defendant to commit a future crime or become violent when determining whether to accept the defendant into pre-trial intervention. Pre-trial intervention exists to allow the court to direct less serious cases and offenders towards a different track than more serious cases. To best use the court's time and resources, the court will use pre-trial intervention, among other tools, to put the focus of law enforcement on more serious cases.
What Factors Are Considered in Determining Pre-Trial Intervention?
Prosecutors will examine all of the available facts and circumstances about a case before deciding whether or not to admit an individual into pre-trial intervention. Expect the prosecutor to look into:
- The nature and circumstances relating to the charge
- What the defendant's intent was
- The age of the defendant at the time the offense was allegedly committed
The prosecutor may look into any other relevant factors when determining whether to grant pre-trial intervention. If there is an alleged victim in a case, then the prosecutor may seek his or her opinion relating to pre-trial intervention.
What Are Some Other Pre-Trial Intervention Rules?
Pre-trial intervention in New Jersey has a number of rules that are important to be aware of, including:
- Pre-trial intervention is generally only offered once. Don't expect to be granted pre-trial intervention a second time.
- Those who are accused of domestic violence or misconduct of a public official will generally be unsuccessful in getting pre-trial intervention treatment. A special showing must be made to convince a prosecutor to grant pre-trial intervention to someone facing one of these charges.
- Pre-trial intervention decisions must be in writing and given to the defendant.
- All appeals of pre-trial intervention decisions are by court rule.
- Superior Court judges hear appeals of pre-trial intervention decisions. If an individual feels that they were unfairly denied pre-trial intervention, then they need to prove that the prosecutor abused his or her discretion in denying acceptance.
The arrest records of a case that is ultimately dismissed through pre-trial intervention are eligible for expungement six months after an individual is discharged. Prosecutors will examine all relevant factors in determining whether pre-trial intervention is acceptable for a specific defendant. Make sure you understand the rules of pre-trial intervention so you can be best positioned for acceptance.
How Does Pre-Trial Intervention Work in Somerset County?
In Somerset County, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office decides who is and is not accepted into pre-trial intervention. Pre-trial intervention is mostly reserved for those charged with third- or fourth-degree criminal offenses. First- and second-degree criminal offenses and drug distribution offenses are both presumptively ineligible for pre-trial intervention. In Somerset County, pre-trial intervention can last as long as three years. After the pre-trial intervention period is complete, all initial criminal charges are dismissed by the judge pursuant to the pre-trial intervention agreement. Keeping a criminal conviction clean through pre-trial intervention is the safety net that many are looking for if they are charged with a crime. Pre-trial intervention agreements are put into writing and are signed by the defendant, defendant's attorney, prosecutor, and judge. This pre-trial intervention contract will outline all the conditions that the court will require for successful completion. Any violation of pre-trial intervention can result in criminal charges being reinstated by the judge.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you are looking for information about pre-trial intervention in Somerset County, then make sure that you consult with an experienced defense attorney. Recognizing what the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office is looking for when determining whether or not to place an individual is extremely important. This knowledge will help put you in the best position to be placed into a pre-trial intervention program. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have the knowledge and experienced necessary to help you with the pre-trial intervention process. They will lean on this experience to help put you in the best position to finish your case without a criminal conviction. To learn why the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help defend you, call us toll-free at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.