Monday, March 06, 2017


The best resolution of any criminal case is for the charges to be dismissed. This can happen in any number of ways but one of the easiest for any defendant who does not want to have a criminal record is to enter and then successfully complete a pretrial intervention program. This program is only available in Florida for state arrests. Unfortunately there is no pretrial intervention program for federal criminal arrests that occur in Florida.

The program is not offered on every felony or misdemeanor, but in many cases it may be an effective way to get a case dismissed with prejudice (meaning that the State Attorney's Office may not refile the case against the Defendant any time in the future). In the five most effective ways to have criminal charges dismissed in Florida I gave the following account of the program:

Pretrial Intervention Program:
Charge is Dismissed with no Jail
A defendant with no criminal record charged with a crime may under certain conditions enter a special Pretrial Intervention Program upon the completion of which the case will be dismissed. The program entails a period of something similar to probation for six months to a year depending on whether the charge was a misdemeanor or felony.
Although in Florida this program is under the supervision of the State Attorney's Office, the prosecutors will ask the presiding Judge to dismiss criminal charges against those who successfully complete the program. There are also similar special programs for select crimes such as drug crimes or domestic battery charges as well as well as the recently added special courts for veterans in some counties in Florida.
Getting into the program requires the Defendant to fill out an application honestly stating his or her previous arrest record and convictions. The state attorney's office will run the a criminal background check so being forthright about any convictions or arrests is important since the program is open for first time offenders only. 

Further, the investigating officer as well as the victim must agree to allowing the Defendant to be in the program. Typically the program also includes special conditions for each type of crime. For example, in a domestic battery criminal case completing an anger management course will be required; whereas in a grand theft or worthless check case proof of the completion of an accounting course may be needed. Often a letter of apology must be written.

The purpose of the program is to allow non-repeat offenders who are basically good people to avoid a debilitating criminal conviction that could permanently affect their reputations in the community, their ability to hold down a job or feed their families.

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