Pretrial Intervention (PTI) in Louisiana
You may be able to enroll in a Pre-Trial Diversion program to avoid going to trial and having a conviction on your record if you have been charged with a qualifying non-violent crime. However, you must be eligible for the Diversion program to enroll in it.
Once you enroll, you must complete the program and fulfill all the requirements to avoid prosecution for the crime.
The conditions and the requirements for the program are based on the nature of the charge you face. You also need to pay a certain fee or fees for this program before the charges can be resolved, on top of any applicable restitution. Pre-Trial Diversion program can also be referred to as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. Sometimes cases are rejected because they appear to be beyond the scope of the program.
Louisiana Pretrial Intervention – How it Works
Your individual case will first be reviewed by the City Prosecutor’s Office to look at multiple factors of your charge including your criminal history and the circumstances behind your offense. If you are accepted into the PTI program, you will be assigned a Pre-Trial Officer who will be your point of contact and will outline the requirements for successfully completing the program.
For a DWI charge, you have to be a first time offender with a non-violent felony or misdemeanor charges to enroll in this program. You must also have little or no criminal history. The program is designed to help non-violent, first-time offenders avoid criminal prosecution and keep those offenders from returning to the judicial system in the future.
PTI programs are a great way to reduce the cost and the amount of resources needed to prosecute minor crimes.
You could be eligible for a PTI if you are arrested for minor charges such as:
- Marijuana possession
“How do I get into Pretrial Intervention?”
After being arrested and charged for a crime like DWI, you will be offered the chance to participate in the PTI program. You can also ask to participate because participation in the program is voluntary. You will then begin the program, but the DWI charge will remain until you complete the requirements of the PTI program.
People accepted into the program are assigned a Pre-Trial Officer who acts as a point of contact and provides the participant with the program requirements. The officer will give you all the information you need about the criteria for completion of the program.
“Am I eligible for the Pretrial Program?”
You can speak with a Pre-Trial Officer to discuss your eligibility by calling 225-389-8579, or you can call the City Prosecutor’s Office at 225-389-3119. Call no later than 3 weeks before your court date stated in your summons.
“Do I need to plead guilty to take part in the Pre-Trial Diversion Program?”
You do not have to plead guilty: the aim of the PTI program is to prevent you from having a conviction on your record before you even go to trial or enter a plea. You will not need to plea at all if you complete the diversion program successfully.
Completing the Pretrial Diversion Program
The charges will be dismissed and the conviction will not appear on your record if you satisfy all the requirements of the program and finish the probation period. But you must finish the probation period without committing any other crimes. While these programs have strict requirements, the benefits outweigh the costs of going to trial.
However, once you complete the program, you will automatically have the right to expunge the arrest from your record. The length of the program varies depending on the charges you are facing.
Common responsibilities attached to being in a Pretrial Diversion Program include:
- Meeting each month with a Pretrial Diversion Officer
- Adhering to the payment schedule set up by the officer
- Completing the assigned community service at a non-profit organization approved by the officer
- Attending any required mental health, substance abuse, anger management, or any other course as assigned by the program
- Submitting to any random drug screenings at the discretion of the Pretrial Diversion Officer
What’s the difference between diversion and probation?
Pretrial Diversion is for first-time offenders and can keep a conviction off your record. The main difference between diversion and probation, however, is that diversion is for before a conviction, while probation comes after a probation.
A diversion is a type of agreement between your defense attorney and the prosecution where the former gets the latter to agree that so long as you adhere to the stipulations of the diversion, your case will be dismissed in the end.
You Must Fulfill All Requirements
The prosecutor may revoke your participation in the program if you commit another offense during the probation period or if you fail to meet the program’s requirements. Your arrest will also remain in your record, and your case will move forward to prosecution, but you may still have your attorney file a motion of expungement to remove the arrest from your record.
Your attorney will help you decide whether to join the program or not by providing all the information you need about it. All you need to ask yourself is whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
You can find more information on the website of the Office of the District Attorney for the 19th Judicial District.
PTI Program Information:
Public Safety Building – S3
9048 Airline Highway, 2nd Floor
Baton Rouge, LA 70815
Tel. (225) 389-3428
If you are facing criminal charges for a DWI in Baton Rouge, call the Russell Law Firm as soon as possible to begin building your legal defense.