Domestic Violence and PTI: What You Need to Know
As you may know, PTI stands for Pretrial Intervention, a New Jersey program. For the most part, only first-time criminal offenders may seek entry into PTI. The benefits are plentiful and allow defendants to ultimately walk away without the stigma of a criminal record. If you are facing domestic violence charges, pretrial intervention may sound attractive to you.
To begin with, you should know the purpose and origin of the pretrial intervention program. PTI is used for rehabilitative purposes within the criminal justice system. It is based on the premise that there may be a connection between the crime and the defendant’s social, cultural, and economic conditions. Therefore, rehabilitation addresses past exposures to deter future criminal behavior. You will not be confined to jail if you are admitted into PTI.
PTI Exclusions for Domestic Violence Offenses
Under New Jersey law, pretrial intervention is referred to as supervisory treatment. NJSA 2C:43-12b(2) includes specific language regarding entry into PTI for domestic violence convictions. In part, it states that there shall be a presumption against admission into a supervisory program if the domestic violence charges included any of the following:
- Existing temporary or final restraining order: The crime or offense was committed when the defendant was already the subject of a temporary or final restraining order
- Crime involved violence: Victim suffered serious or significant bodily injury. Additionally, any domestic violence offenses that included use of weapon would mean exclusion from PTI
- Crime involved the threat of violence: Victim was threatened with bodily harm. The defendant may also have gestured or verbally threatened to use a weapon.
The New Jersey Rules of Court also address whether domestic violence offenders can gain entry into pretrial intervention. Rule 3:28 mirrors the language of the statute as far as the presumption against admission based on certain conditions.
If you are facing domestic violence charges for something that doesn’t fit into any of the preceding categories, you may feel a sense of relief. After all, not all acts of domestic violence involve violence or the threat of violence. Surely, you are eligible for PTI. However, New Jersey law goes further with an additional caveat. NJSA 2C:43-12b(2)(e) explicitly states that admission into a supervision program is contingent on a guilty plea in certain situations involving domestic violence.
The requirement for a guilty plea is unique to pretrial intervention. The bottom line is that if someone is admitted into PTI and is non-compliant, he or she would have a criminal conviction appear on their record. Notwithstanding, if the program is completed successfully, the defendant would not have to worry about a criminal record.
Have you been accused of an act of domestic violence? At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have represented a number of individuals charged with domestic violence offenses. Let our experience help you with your defense in court. Contact us to schedule an appointment.