You’re facing your first criminal charges, and you might be worried – even panicked about what’s to come. It’s true that facing criminal charges can be serious. It can change your life forever.
However, there are things you can do. In South Carolina, you may qualify to participate in a Pre-Trial Intervention program. The program can result in the claims against you being dismissed – even if you think there’s no defense to the charges.
Pre-Trial Intervention can be a welcome relief to a criminal defendant. However, you must understand what it can do for you, the positive aspects, and the drawbacks. Participation is not automatic.
If you have questions about the Pre-Trial Intervention program, our South Carolina defense attorneys are here to assist you. Contact us today for a consultation regarding your claim.
What is Pre-Trial Intervention in South Carolina?
South Carolina Pre-Trial Intervention is a program that allows qualifying criminal defendants to receive a complete dismissal of their charges by completing a term of probation-like monitoring. Instead of the case going to trial, the defendant agrees to participate in the pre-trial diversion program. Upon successful completion, the charges against them are dismissed without a conviction entering on their record.
When Is Pre-Trial Intervention Used?
Under S.C. Code § 17-22-60, Pre-Trial Intervention is appropriate when:
- Justice will be served if the offender participates in the program
- The needs of the offender can be met through the program
- There’s no threat to the community
- It’s unlikely the defendant will be involved in future criminal activity
- Rehabilitative treatment is likely to be successful
- No significant criminal history exists for the defendant
- It’s the first time the defendant is participating in a Pre-Trial Intervention program
The solicitor may request information about the defendant’s personal history to determine if they are a candidate for Pre-Trial Intervention.
If Taking Pre-Trial Diversion, Is There a Trial?
If you accept pre-trial diversion in South Carolina, the case does not proceed to trial. Instead, the defendant does many of the things that they would do if they were placed on probation, like pay fees, attend counseling and receive substance abuse treatment. Once they complete the program successfully, the charges are dismissed without a trial.
What Is the Pre-trial Intervention Law in South Carolina?
Who Qualifies for Pre-Trial Intervention in South Carolina?
To qualify for Pre-Trial Intervention in South Carolina, you must not have participated in the intervention program before. Even for first-time offenders, certain charges are disqualifying including drunk driving and domestic violence. Other violent crimes, like robbery, are also disqualifying.
See if you qualify for Pre-Trial Intervention. Have a consultation with our experienced criminal law attorneys about the specifics of your case.
How Do You Apply for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program?
To participate in the Pre-Trial Intervention program, you must apply and pay a $100 application fee. The Solicitor’s office decides if you’re accepted.
What does it cost to participate in the Pre-Trial Intervention program?
Participating in the South Carolina Pre-Trial Intervention program has the following costs and charges:
- $100 application fee
- $250 program fee
- $250 case expungement fee
- $35 court clerk filing fee
- Drug testing fees
- Counseling fees
- Restitution to any victims of your case
Although it might seem like the Pre-Trial Intervention program is expensive, you would pay fines and costs if you were ultimately convicted or plead guilty to the offense charged. Our lawyers can help you evaluate the costs and weigh the pros and cons of participation in the Pre-Trial Intervention program.
How long does Pre-Trial Intervention last in South Carolina?
The South Carolina Pre-Trial Intervention program lasts at least 90 days in South Carolina, or longer. When you join the program, coordinators should clearly tell you the terms of what’s required for graduating from the program including the time frame.
Can a juvenile receive Pre-Trial Intervention?
Pre-Trial Intervention for offenders is not available for juveniles. Participants must be 18 or older.
Are traffic offenses eligible for Pre-Trial Intervention?
Traffic offenses punishable only by fines and license points are not eligible for the PTI program.
When Do You Apply for the South Carolina Pre-Trial Intervention Program?
The defendant must apply to the South Carolina PTI program within 75 days of the warrant or within 10 days of appointment of counsel for the charge. The time limits may be waived.
What happens if you successfully complete the South Carolina Pre-Trial Intervention program?
Successful participants of the PTI program have their charges dismissed. The offender may apply for a court order to destroy all their official records relating to the arrest. In effect, it puts the person in the same position they were in before the arrest even occurred. The person can honestly say they were not convicted of the offense.
What happens if you are unsuccessful in the Pre-Trial Intervention program?
If you’re unsuccessful in the PTI program, your participation is terminated. The prosecutor may then continue to pursue the charges against you.
The Role of an Attorney in Pre-Trial Intervention
If you’re a defendant facing your first criminal charges, you may be thinking that Pre-Trial Intervention would be a big relief. First-time offenders are often able to complete the program with great success. You may be wondering how you can take advantage of it.
The circuit solicitor has prosecutorial discretion over PTI programs. The solicitor has the discretion to determine if the elements of the crime fit for participation in the program and if the candidate is likely to be successful.
A criminal defense attorney can help you make the case for your participation in the program. They know what information the solicitor looks for and how to make a clear case for participation in the program. In addition, they help you evaluate the pros and cons of the program to determine if participation is in your best interests. Your attorney can also work with the solicitor’s office in terms of developing favorable terms for the program including the period of participation and the requirements.
Attorneys for Pre-Trial Intervention Programs
Do you want to explore Pre-Trial Intervention in response to criminal charges? Our lawyers aggressively explore all the options available to you. Contact us today for a consultation about your case.