DAMIANO M. FRACASSO
ATTORNEY AT LAW
Celebrating 21 Years of Service
2001 - 2022
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PTI, Probation & DMV Hearings
(Original, Violation & Early Termination Hearings)
Depending on the offense you are charged with and the court where your charges are pending, I may be able to help you avoid being sentenced to prison or losing your driver’s license (or both). I have experience in successfully representing clients with applying for PTI, Conditional Discharges, Probation and the Drug Court Program. I also have experience in successfully representing clients in the proceedings brought against them for violating the terms and conditions of these programs. Please contact me today to see if I can provide you with legal services in these areas.
What is “PTI?”
The Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process of ordinary prosecution. PTI seeks to render early rehabilitative services, when such services can reasonably be expected to deter future criminal behavior. The PTI program is based on a rehabilitative model that recognizes that there may be an apparent causal connection between the offense charged and the rehabilitative needs of a defendant. Further, the rehabilitative model emphasizes that social, cultural, and economic conditions often result in a defendant’s decision to commit crime. Simply stated, PTI strives to solve personal problems which tend to result from the conditions that appear to cause crime, and ultimately, to deter future criminal behavior by a defendant.
What Are Some Benefits of PTI?
If PTI is successfully completed, there is no record of conviction and the defendant avoids the stigma of a criminal record. Although no record of a conviction exists, a defendant may want to file for an expungement to remove any record of the original arrest.
Who is Eligible for Pretrial Intervention (PTI)?
Any defendant who is charged with an indictable offense may apply. Admission guidelines stated in the Court Rules set the following criteria: Age - PTI is designed for adults. Jurisdiction - Only defendants charged with indictable offenses in New Jersey State Courts may apply. Minor Violations - Charges that would likely result in a suspended sentence without probation or a fine are generally not eligible. Those charged with ordinance, health code and other similar violations are not eligible. Prior Record of Convictions - PTI generally excludes defendants who have been previously convicted. Parolees and Probationers - Generally excluded without prosecutor’s consent and considered only after consultation with parole and probation departments. Defendants Previously Diverted - Excludes defendants who have previously been granted a diversionary program or conditional discharge.
According to a recent change in the law, PTI is now available for certain municipal court offenses too!
How is PTI different from a Conditional Discharge?
Simply put, a Conditional Discharge is a PTI for a drug related offense in the municipal court. Like PTI, there is an application and qualification process.
How is PTI different from Probation or Drug Court Probation?
What if I am accepted into PTI or Sentanced to Probation or Drug Court Probation and I violate my conditions?
If a defendant successfully completes all the conditions of PTI, then the original charges are dismissed on the recommendation of the Criminal Division Manager with consent by the prosecutor, and there is no record of conviction. If a defendant does not successfully complete the conditions of PTI, then the defendant is terminated from the PTI program and the case is returned to the ordinary course of prosecution and you may be charged for the offense which terminated your PTI as well.
If you are sentenced to probation without incarceration, you must first plead guilty to an offense and thereby you have a conviction on your record. If you successfully complete your probation without incarceration, you will not have to go to jail. If violate your terms of probation, you may be arrested, placed in jail pending a hearing, serve a term of prison after a hearing and you will also be prosecuted for the new offense which was the basis for your probation violation.
Prospective drug court defendants come under the court’s supervision soon after arrest. After acceptance to drug court, participants begin a clinically-driven treatment program that generally lasts from 12 to 24 months. Participants are required to attend treatment sessions, undergo random urinalysis, meet regularly with probation officers and appear frequently before the drug court judge. New Jersey’s Drug Courts target substance abusing adult defendants who have undergone a legal review and clinical assessment by drug court team members. Persons excluded from participation in drug court include those who have previous convictions or pending charges for a violent offense. Other eligibility criteria and exclusions apply. If you violate your drug court supervision requirements (which are very strict) you may be arrested, placed in jail pending a hearing and serve a term of prison after a hearing and you will also be prosecuted for the new offense which was the basis for your drug court violation.
What is “early termination?”
Depending on your circumstances, I may be able to assist you in applying for early termination of your PTI program or probation sentence. That means for example, an 18 month term of probation can be terminated one or more months early depending on your success in the program.
What is a DMV Hearing?
Actually, in New Jersey, the agency formally known as the “DMV” is now known as the MVC (Motor Vehicle Commission). While a municipal court or Superior Court judge may suspend your driver’s license pursuant to statute, the Commissioner of the MVC can also order additional suspension of your driver’s license (even if you committed a motor vehicle outside of the State of New Jersey or the judge who sentenced you did not tell you about this) as an “administrative” suspension. Generally speaking, the MVC is not allowed to administratively suspended your driver’s license without a hearing and you have a right to have an attorney represent you at that hearing. Common offenses which result in hearings are out of state DWI’s, point accumulations, you are a “persistent violator,” etc. The important thing to know is that you waive your right to fight the MVC suspension if the MVC sends you a hearing notice and you do not request a hearing properly or on time. When you receive the notice from the MVC, make sure you save the envelope it came in (to prove when it was mailed by the MVC) and contact me immediately to set up consultation to discuss whether or not I can represent you in requesting the hearing and appearing with you on your behalf at your hearing.