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FAQs About Pre-Trial Interventions (PTI) in South Carolina

FAQs About Pre-Trial Interventions (PTI) in South Carolina

If you find yourself facing criminal charges in South Carolina, you may have heard about Pre-Trial Interventions (PTI). This alternative program offers individuals an opportunity to avoid a trial and potentially have their charges dismissed.

In this blog post, we will answer several frequently asked questions about the PTI process. We will also discuss the value of working with an attorney when deciding if taking advantage of an offered PTI program is suitable for you.

Who is Eligible for PTI?

Eligibility for Pre-Trial Interventions (PTI) typically extends to those with minimal or no prior criminal history. The program is available to individuals facing charges in various judicial settings, including magistrate, municipal, and general session courts.

Many cases have the potential to be resolved through PTI programs, including:

  • Domestic Violence (DV 3rd, DV 2nd, DV 1st)
  • Drug Possession
  • Burglary (second degree)
  • Shoplifting
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Trespassing

While both misdemeanor and felony cases have the potential to be resolved through Pre-Trial Interventions, there are some exceptions. Generally speaking, DUI cases and those involving major violent crimes are not eligible for PTI.

Note: PTI is usually a one-time opportunity for individuals.

Can I Request to Resolve My Case Through a PTI?

The path to PTI is navigated based on the prosecutor's recommendations. The judge does not have the jurisdiction to decide who can partake in the PTI program. However, this does not mean that you and your attorney cannot negotiate with the prosecution for Pre-Trial Intervention.

When working with an experienced criminal defense attorney like ours at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, your counsel can explore your options. This may include the possibility of a PTI.

Why Choose a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI)?

Participating in PTI can offer a multitude of advantages for individuals facing criminal charges. The benefits of PTI go beyond simply avoiding a trial; they provide an opportunity for personal rehabilitation and growth.

The Potential for Case Dismissal

One of the primary benefits of PTI is the potential for your charges to be dismissed upon successfully completing the program. This is a highly desirable outcome as it results in the expungement of your arrest record, leaving no trace of the criminal charges you were facing. 

Avoiding a Permanent Criminal Record

Choosing PTI instead of plea bargaining or paying a fine can also prevent the creation of a permanent criminal record. Conventional criminal pleas, even those resulting in fines, could lead to a lasting criminal record. Furthermore, depending on your charges, you might face probation, a jail sentence, or even a driver's license suspension, all of which can be avoided through PTI.

Avoid the Risk of Being Found Guilty During a Trial

Even if you are assured of your own innocence, PTI might still be a viable option. While it may seem counterintuitive, remember that PTI provides a way to have your charges dismissed. This guaranteed outcome eliminates any risk of being found guilty at trial, thereby helping you avoid a jail sentence or a criminal record.

What Does a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program Look Like?

Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) programs are structured, supervised programs that typically consist of several key components designed to address the specific needs of each individual. They are not one-size-fits-all: the exact requirements can vary depending on the nature of your charges, your personal background, and the recommendations of the prosecutor and the program administrators.

Upon entering a PTI program, you may be required to:

  • Attend regular meetings with a PTI officer
  • Undergo counseling or educational courses based on the nature of the offense
  • Perform community service
  • Submit to periodic drug and alcohol screenings (if relevant)

Successfully completing these requirements demonstrates to the court your commitment to rehabilitation and personal growth.

What Happens After Successful Completion of a PTI Program?

After successfully completing a PTI program, the charges against you are typically dismissed. This means that you will not face a trial or conviction for the charges for which you were initially arrested. Furthermore, in South Carolina, you may also be eligible to have the arrest record and any associated records expunged.

Expungement essentially wipes the slate clean, removing all traces of your arrest and subsequent proceedings from public view. This can be crucial for maintaining future employment opportunities, securing housing, and preserving a clean criminal record. It's a second chance at a clean record, allowing you to move forward without being continuously haunted by a past mistake.

Do you have questions about the PTI process? The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and protect your rights.


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