Attorneys representing clients who are facing criminal charges often work with the court solicitor to try to get the best deal possible for their client. As a criminal defense attorney in North Charleston, SC, Rad Deaton is no different. A client’s options vary on a case by case basis, but oftentimes for first offenders, the solicitor may agree to a reduced sentence or fines if the offender is willing to participate in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, or PTI.
What is Pre-Trial Intervention in South Carolina?
PTI is a diversionary program designed for first-time offenders of non-violent crimes. The program’s goal is to intervene and prevent future criminal actions. PTI includes a prison tour, community service, payment of restitution if applicable, participation in counseling sessions, and specific programs that may pertain to the charge, like an alcohol education program. The program guidelines are rigid and termination is the penalty for failure to adhere to guidelines or comply with requests, but if successfully completed, the reduction in penalties is easily worth participation. The program lasts a minimum of 90 days, but it is possible that it takes longer to complete the program, depending on the circumstances.
How does PTI work in South Carolina?
All participants of PTI must be 17 or older. Additionally, while all counties in South Carolina offer the PTI program, many have different rules or guidelines to adhere to. It is important to make sure to follow program guidelines for the county where the arrest was made. A couple of conditions must be met in order to enroll in PTI. Most importantly, the prosecutor on your case must consent to your enrollment in PTI. Once they have given the go ahead, you will be referred to PTI by the prosecutor or judge.
Once you are eligible to enroll in the program, the next step is dependent on the severity of the charge incurred. For Magistrate or Municipal offenses, you must report to the PTI office within a certain time and provide them with a picture ID, social security card, and pay a $100.00 fee. The fee must be paid with Money Order or Cashier’s Check only. For General Session’s charges, if you were referred to the PTI program, you will receive a letter with a scheduled appointment that you must attend. You are also required to bring the same three items listed above to your scheduled appointment.
Once these requirements have been met, participation in the program begins. Despite the program’s aim to rehabilitate based on the participant’s charges, many of the requirements are consistent no matter the charge. Should you enroll in PTI, be prepared to:
- Consent to and complete random drug screenings
- Make restitution payments to victim or victims.
- Adhere to a no tolerance policy regarding new criminal charges. Should you receive another charge when you are a participant in PTI, you will be removed from the program.
- Complete any assignments given by the PTI office.
- Take a jail or prison tour.
- Attend additional programs such as AEP, or alcohol education program.
- Write letters or make phone calls describing your progress in the program.
As you can see, there is no one size fits all when it comes to PTI. For a better chance in participating in the program and an explanation of your options when it comes to PTI or any other criminal charge, the first step is to contact an attorney. If you’ve been charged criminally in North Charleston, SC and are considering PTI or just want to discuss your options, call Deaton Law Firm for a free consultation.