You are down from college to enjoy the beautiful beach of Southwest Florida and you find yourself arrested for disorderly intoxication after a night of drinking went a little too far. Ashamed and embarrassed about the charge and concerned over the implications it might have for scholarships and future employment, your first move should be to consult a Sarasota criminal defense attorney.
If you are a first offender in a case like this and you are charged with a qualifying offense, you may be eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). Most misdemeanors and third degree felonies qualify for PTI. In cases where Florida Law does not bar participation in the PTI Program, the State Attorney's Office makes the final determination. In cases such as petit theft, battery, criminal mischief or other crimes where there is a victim, the State Attorney must also have the consent of the victim before placing you in PTI.
Participating in the PTI program is like being placed on probation. As a program participant, you will be required to enter into a contract with the State of Florida agreeing to:
- Be supervised by a probation officer for a specified period of time
- Perform community service
- Participate in counseling
- Pay restitution to the victim
- Drug Testing
- Psychological evaluation if appropriate
- Any other appropriate sanction (letter of apology, no contact with the victim, etc.)
Successful completion of a PTI Program will result in the charge or charges against you being dismissed or the State taking no further action on your criminal case. If you fail to complete the contract within the specified time or otherwise violate a condition of the contract, your case will be returned to court where you will face the charges and the full range of consequences including formal conviction.
The primary benefit of successful completion of PTI is the ability to apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a Certificate of Eligibility to have your record expunged. With the Certificate, you may file a motion with the Court to have the arrest either sealed or expunged.
When a criminal record is sealed, the public will not have access to it. However, certain government entities will be able to access sealed records. When a record has been expunged, entities that would ordinarily have access to sealed records will be informed that the record has been expunged and will be required to obtain a court order to view its contents.
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For more information regarding your eligibility for PTI, sealing or expunging a criminal record, please contact my office for a free confidential consultation by calling (941) 564-5319 or filling out theFree Case Evaluation Form