Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) in Pinellas County
If you were arrested or served with a notice to appear in St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, FL, then your case will be set for arraignment.
You should be aware that even a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that can have serious consequences even years after the case is resolved.
Pinellas County has a misdemeanor PTI and a felony PTI program, each with different requirements for eligibility and successful completion.
The purpose of the Misdemeanor Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program in Pinellas County is to meet specific requirements for treatment and rehabilitation which are intended to prevent any further criminal activity.
For most cases not involving possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, the PTI program will last for six (6) months. For possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia cases, the PTI program might last for twelve (12) months.
Pinellas County also has a felony PTI program for third-degree felony offenses which might last for eighteen (18) months. In most cases, supervision can be terminated early, usually at the half-way point if all conditions are met in advance.
Entering PTI comes with serious consequences to your career particularly if you are licensed as a health care professional (physician or nurse), certified educator (teacher), attorney, law enforcement officer, or member of the military. Getting the charges dropped outright (on the merits) is a much better result.
Attorney for PTI in Pinellas County, FL
Before you agree to enter a PTI program in Pinellas County, FL, to resolve a felony or misdemeanor offense, contact the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm.
Our attorneys represent clients charged with crimes throughout Pinellas County, FL, including in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
We can help you understand the pros and cons of entering a PTI program in any misdemeanor or felony cases in Pinellas County.
Depending on how your case is resolved, we can help you seal or expunge the criminal history record if you are eligible. One important benefit of PTI, if you have no prior convictions in Florida, is being able to start the expunction process as soon as the PTI program is completed and the charges are dropped.
Call (813) 250-0500 to discuss the case.
Felony PTI is Supervised by the Department of Correction
In Pinellas County, FL, if you enter felony pre-trial intervention, you will be supervised by the Department of Corrections.
The first step is signing the application and submitting it to the State Attorney’s Office. The prosecutor then approves the application and designates the special conditions required (if any).
After the application is approved, then the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) will contact you for the initial meetings to discuss the terms. You will be presented with a contract that you and your attorney will sign before you are accepting into the program.
Click here to find the application coversheet, entry of plea of not guilty form, the stipulation for continuance form, the attorney waiver (if you are not represented by an attorney when you sign the paperwork), waiver of speedy trial, statement of prior record.
Different forms are required for different programs including the Pre-Trial Intervention Program Application, the Domestic Violence Deferred Prosecution Program Application, or the Mental Substance Abuse Intervention Program Application.
Requirements of Misdemeanor PTI with PCSO in Pinellas
Some individuals are eligible for the Misdemeanor Pre-trial Intervention Program (PTI) managed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. If you meet the qualifications, you may enter this alternative probation program.
The program provides intensive supervision before a trial or plea, and if you complete the program, the criminal charges may be dismissed and you can avoid a criminal conviction on your record. In some cases, you will then be eligible to seal or expunge the criminal record.
To be eligible for PTI you must:
- be charged with a misdemeanor;
- no traffic misdemeanor charges are eligible;
- you must have no prior criminal conviction or only one prior non-violent misdemeanor conviction; and
- the victim, if any, must content to you entering the program.
Additionally, the County Court Judge, the Program Administrator, and the State Attorney must also consent to you entering the PTI program in Pinellas County.
Applying for PTI in Pinellas County
You can apply at the Office of the State Attorney through an attorney or you can represent yourself. You must permit a background investigation and waive your right to a speedy trial.
If accepted, you must sign an agreement that contains the specific requirements for the successful completion of the program. If you violate any term or condition or get a new charge, then your participation in the program terminates, and your case will be returned to the court for formal prosecution.
After you submit the application and it is determined that you are eligible, then you will be contacted by the Probation Unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. You will be required to make an appointment to go over the specific requirements in your case. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions before you decide whether to enter the program or not.
If you enter the PTI program, then you will be supervised by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Misdemeanor Probation Unit. You must pay a monthly supervisory cost of $50.00.
If I don’t have an attorney, what happens at the arraignment?
An arraignment is a court hearing where the judge will tell you the official charge or charges against you. If you are represented by an attorney, the attorney will enter a written plea of not guilty on your behalf.
If you do not have an attorney, then you will need to go to the arraignment and stand in front of the judge to be told the charges against you.
The court will then ask you to enter a plea. You will stand in front of the judge and the court will ask you to enter a plea, either not guilty, guilty or no contest (which is essentially the same as a guilty plea).
If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest, then the judge can then sentence you to jail time or probation and/or make you pay a fine, court costs, and costs of prosecution.
If you enter a plea of Not Guilty, then the court will set another court date and inquire about whether you want to hire a private attorney or whether you would like a public defender to be appointed to represent you.
During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the court might require you to appear using remote video conferencing services such as Zoom. Instructions will be mailed to you or can be found on the court’s website or on the notice filed in your case which can be found on the website.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Misdemeanor Probation for PTI
14250 49th Street North
Clearwater, FL 33762
This article was last updated on Friday, September 4, 2020.