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Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) in South Carolina

Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) in South Carolina

What Is a Pre-Trail Intervention?

South Carolina has created a program that helps first-time offenders. It focuses on rehabilitation and tries to keep people out of the justice system. When someone successfully completes these programs, their charge is canceled. They no longer need to worry about their charges, and they maintain their freedom. They can even have the case expunged, removing all publically available records of the incident or arrest. This program is called pre-trial intervention, or PTI for short.

Pre-trial intervention does not require any admission of guilt or wrongdoing. The accused does not have to admit being guilty, and is not found by the court to have done anything wrong. Instead, PTI occurs when both the defendant and the prosecutor agree to resolve a case this way, instead of through the traditional methods in court.

Pre-trial intervention can resolve almost every type of criminal offense.

South Carolina’s Pre-Trial Intervention Process

Pre-trial intervention is similar to probation, but not as intense and does not require you to be convicted first. The state will give you various goals, and it checks in to make sure you are keeping up with these requirements.

The program’s obligations include:

  • Payment of $350 in program fees
  • Completion of a 2-page report
  • 30-50 hours of community service
  • Passing drug tests
  • Payment of any restitution
  • And for domestic violence charges: attending counseling, and paying for these sessions

PTI is a non-court alternative to resolving a criminal charge. It isn't probation. You also would not be required to pay any fines or court costs. The only costs are those charged by the pre-trial intervention office, which is often much lower than a court fine would have been.

PTI can be for people who are guilty or innocent of the charges

Prosecutors can sometimes build a strong case against someone, even when that person is innocent. If you are in this situation, and you haven’t faced criminal trouble before, you could benefit from intervention.

Before agreeing to an intervention, you should decide whether you can keep up with the program. Failure to complete pre-trial intervention means your case will return to court for prosecution. Prosecutors and judges could take a harsher view of your situation if they feel like you gave up on your 2nd chance.

Completing PTI will result in a guaranteed dismissal of the charge. No matter what the facts of your case are or the circumstances of your arrest, no one ever has a guarantee in court.

Remember, you always have the right to defend yourself against any criminal accusation. For some people, pre-trial interventions are unacceptable. They know they are innocent and refuse to participate in PTI in order to resolve their charge. Instead, they want to contest their case in court.

You should only agree to PTI if you feel that doing so is in your best interest.

Advantages of a Pre-Trial Intervention

Intervention prevents you from facing criminal penalties.

As its name suggests, a pre-trial intervention also keeps your case from going to court. You will not be required to plead "guilty" or "not-guilty", and you won't face a trial.

Pre-trial intervention also keeps a conviction off your criminal record. More good news is this: After completing PTI you can expunge, or erase, the arrest and all publically available records of your case.

Disadvantages of Pre-Trial Intervention

There are some disadvantages for PTI. These include:

  • You're only eligible to participate once
  • You must complete all requirements and pay all fees
  • You give up your right to go to court

PTI also can't be used for traffic offenses, including DUI. Pre-trial intervention also isn't available for the most serious felony charges, such as murder, drug trafficking or armed robbery.

Discuss Your Options with your Lawyer

Attorneys who defend clients do so in several ways. They can, of course, argue for your innocence in court. Helping reduce someone’s penalties is also a big part of their job.

You should take all of your lawyer’s suggestions into consideration. They are there to help you achieve the best result. If they think a pre-trial intervention is your best option, listen to them. Remember, being innocent doesn’t necessarily keep you out of jail. PTI however could.

Our firm can help with your pre-trial intervention. Contact us today for a free consultation. You can schedule time with us onlineor call us now at (803) 359-3301.


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