Pre-Trial Intervention in Texas…
In criminal cases in Texas, an accused always has the constitutional right to demand a trial by judge or jury.
The decision of how a defendant resolves his case if the state refuses to dismiss depends on many different factors that should be thoroughly investigated and evaluated by an attorney.
Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer. Call (281) 853-8537 for a free consultation.
Plea Bargain vs. Pre-trial Intervention
However, most plea bargains require the accused to plead guilty in front of the judge, thereby admitting to a crime, in order to get the benefit of that plea bargain.
This might include deferred adjudication (where the accused is not technically convicted of the crime but rather put on community supervision for a period of time); regular probation (where the accused is convicted of the crime and sentenced to some term in jail, but that sentence is suspended and the person is put on community supervision); or jail time, which may or may not also include a fine and court costs.
Deferred Adjudication vs. Pre-Trial Intervention
The difficulty is that if a person is placed on deferred adjudication, and successfully completes that supervision, they cannot petition to have those records erased – they can only ask the Judge to sign an order requiring the records to be hidden from the general public. (This is called Non-Disclosure).
Worse, by law some offenses are excluded from Non-Disclosure.
Even if non-disclosure is granted, state agencies and law enforcement will always be able to locate records of that arrest and prosecution.
Worse, if a person is actually convicted of a crime, with the exception of a very particular set of circumstances under a relatively new law, that arrest and conviction will be a part of that person’s criminal history forever.
Sometimes people feel like this isn’t much of a “bargain” after all.
In response to the sometimes harsh reality of how a criminal case can impact a person’s criminal history records, some District Attorneys have developed special programs that encourage an accused to take responsibility for his actions, participate in rehabilitation programs, and then, if successful, that case gets dismissed and is eligible for “expunction” of records.
If you are a first time offender charged with a non-violent offense in Texas, you may qualify for a pre-trial intervention program.
Pre-Trial Intervention Programs in Texas
Pre-Trial Intervention is a type of supervision that some District Attorneys authorize for certain first time offenders.
PTI allows an accused to accept responsibility, perform community service, and undergo any necessary treatment in order to pay his debt to society without suffering the potentially serious consequences of a conviction or deferred adjudication.
In counties where prosecutors have developed a Pre-Trial Intervention program, the community supervision department uses the authorization found in Government Code Section 76.011 to supervise individuals admitted into pretrial intervention programs.
In pre-trial intervention programs, the type of supervision is designed to fit each case, and will depend upon the charges and the needs for rehabilitation.
Some of the general requirements to qualify for a Texas pre-trial intervention program are:
- Must be a first time arrest;
- Must accept responsibility for the offense;
- Report to supervision officer at least once per month;
- Remain drug and alcohol free;
- Must demonstrate willingness to complete the PTI program;
Criminal defendants in certain cases who meet these criteria may be referred to a PTI program. In some cases, an in-person assessment will be conducted to determine the type of supervision that will be required.
Sometimes restitution is required, other programs require drug or alcohol treatment. Generally, community service hours are mandated, as are random drug tests.
If you are admitted into a pre-trial intervention program and successfully complete all of the requirements, your case should be dismissed at the end of the program.
After the case is dismissed, you should be eligible to have the details of your arrest and prosecution expunged. Your criminal defense attorney should assist you in obtaining an expunction of criminal history records.
If you are a first time offender, please contact our office to determine if you can qualify for a Texas pre-trial intervention program (281) 853-8537.