This entry will discuss only Pretrial Diversion, or PTD. PTD is a Miami-Dade County program for misdemeanor criminal charges only. Pretrial Intervention (PTI) or Misdemeanor Diversion are for felony charges and Broward County cases respectively.
How Pretrial Diversion (PTD) Works
Posted By Eric Matheny
If you are a first-time misdemeanor offender in Miami-Dade County, you may be eligible for PTD.
PTD is offered by the State Attorney. The Court, on its own, cannot offer it.
PTD is not a guarantee for any first-time offender. If the charge involves a victim (battery, petit theft, assault, criminal mischief, or domestic violence) then the State will not offer PTD unless the victim approves. It doesn't matter whether the accused is a first-time offender. If the victim does not approve, the State will not offer it.
Also, even in non-violent cases involving law enforcement officers (resisting without violence), the State may seek the officer's approval before offering PTD.
In Miami-Dade County, PTD is run by one of two private companies: The Advocate Program and Court Options.
If offered PTD, you or your South Florida criminal defense attorney will accept the State's referral into the program in court. This is only a referral into the program as the program itself will assess you and your case to determine whether you qualify.
If you have prior arrests or convictions, the program may not permit you to participate. In this instance, you case will be sent back to court and set for trial.
It is possible to be re-enrolled into PTD if you are not accepted the first time.
Once you have the State's referral, you will go to the program office (either The Advocate or Court Options for an intake interview. You will meet with a counselor who will inquire about your background. If accepted, you will be given a schedule of conditions that you must complete in order to successfully complete the program.
Those conditions may include classes, community service hours, and payment of restitution if applicable.
There is also a program fee of about $250 that must be paid prior to completion. Usually, the program requires a deposit of about $50.
PTD is not probation. Probation is a sentence imposed by the court. With PTD, you do not plead guilty to a charge. You merely agree to complete certain conditions and in exchange, the State Attorney's Office will dismiss your charges upon successful completion. It is diverted prosecution. Hence the name.
While in PTD, your case remains open. That's because if you violate the terms of your program or fail to complete a condition, you will go back to court and your case will be set for trial. As I have stated before, it is possible to re-enroll if you violate or are not accepted initially.
PTD keeps your case open for six months. However, early termination may be possible if you complete all of your conditions and pay all of your program fees early.
For possession of marijuana cases, PTD can be terminated in as little as three months.
As I stated before, the benefit to PTD is that you have the chance to get your charges dismissed. If that happens, you may be eligible to have your arrest expunged. If this is your first time dealing with the criminal justice system, you may want to consider PTD. As a criminal attorney, I have been successful in negotiating PTD for many of my clients. Depending on the evidence against you, it may be in your best interest.
However, PTD will still leave you with pending charges for six months, as well as a great deal of conditions that must be completed. It may not be the worst thing that could happen, but it is terribly inconvenient.
You should not accept PTD until you have thoroughly reviewed your case with a criminal defense attorney.
Feel free to call me to discuss your case.