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Felony PTI in Hillsborough County

If you were charged with a felony and have no prior criminal record or only a minor record, you may qualify for the felony pre-trial intervention (PTI) program. The State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County might offer this program either on a pre-file basis before the arraignment (before any charging document is file) or after the charging document has been filed and you have been formally arraigned on the charge.

During the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, one big advantage of PTI is that it might be faster than waiting for trial.

Felony PTI is more intensive, expensive, and time-consuming than the misdemeanor intervention program (MIP).

If the prosecutor is motivated to resolve the case short of trial, your criminal defense attorney might be able to persuade the prosecutor to file the charge as a misdemeanor (or amend the charge to a misdemeanor if felony charges have already been filed) for the purposes of making the case eligible for MIP.

The State Attorney’s Office in Tampa decides the rules that will apply to the PTI program. In some cases, the State Attorney’s Office is willing to bend those rules or find a workaround solution so that a person first declared to be not eligible can still complete the PTI program.

Many people apply for pre-trial intervention without understanding the eligibility requirements. As a result, the PTI application might be denied or the participant might be rejected.

After the court receives notice of the pre-trial intervention rejection or denial, then the court will issue a felony notice of hearing. If the person misses the court date, then the court will issue a capias for failure to appear (listed on the arrest report as ARREST ON CAPIAS OR BENCH FELONY WARRANT).

Attorney for the PTI Program in Tampa, FL

Experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you determine whether a diversion program is the best way to resolve the case. If so, the attorney can help you get into the program under the best possible terms.

Entering PTI requires giving up important rights such as the ability to contest the charges based on the statute of limitations. To enter PTI, you must waive your right to a speedy trial.

The criminal defense attorneys at Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, represent clients on felony and misdemeanor charges throughout Hillsborough County, FL.

We can help you decide whether entering a diversion program is the best way to resolve your case. We also represent clients after a PTI rejection, denial, or failure to appear in court.

Contact us today to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer in Tampa, FL.

Call 813-250-0500.

What is the Felony Pre-Trial Intervention in Tampa, FL?

In Florida, the Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) programs are actually provided for through F.S. §948.08 and §948.16. The felony-level intervention programs are supervised by the Department of Corrections (DOC).

The DOC operates a Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.

The goal of the PTI program is to give a first-time felony offender the opportunity to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction by diverting the case away from the judge and the trial court process.

Defendants charged with a qualifying third-degree felony can be approved for this program which is not generally available for more serious charges.

If you are facing more serious charges, the prosecutor will sometimes agree to reduce the charges so that you become eligible for the PTI program in Tampa, FL.

After your attorney submits the application and negotiates the terms, the state will file a notice to close the file. The request is based on the fact that the defendant was accepted into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program and waived his or her right to a speedy trial.

Since the State Attorney agrees to defer prosecution in the matter pending the successful completion of the program, the file is closed during that time period.

Offenses Not Eligible for Diversion in Florida

Only third-degree degree felony offenses are eligible for PTI. Although the State Attorney’s Office doesn’t advertise this option, the office has been known to amend the charge to a different charge solely for the purposes of permitting the case into the Pre-Trial Diversion program.

Not all third-degree felony charges are eligible for PTI (although during the COVID-19 crisis, the State Attorney’s Office is making exceptions to these rules). Examples of third-degree felony offenses that are not typically eligible for diversion include:

Does My Prior Record Make Me Ineligible?

To be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention Program in Tampa, the applicant must have no prior adult felony arrests and/or convictions and no more than one (1) prior conviction for a non-violent misdemeanor crime.

If an applicant is twenty-five (25) years or less and possesses a juvenile record of criminal offenses indicative of disregard for the criminal laws, in the opinion of the State Attorney’s Office, the Applicant may be disqualified for entry into the PTI program.

What If I’m Innocent or the Prosecutor Can’t Prove the Case?

If you are innocent of the charge then the PTI program is probably not the best option for you. Entry into the program essentially equates to an acknowledgment of wrongdoing even though it is done informally.

For professionals such as school teachers and certified educators, nurses and health care professionals, members of the military, law enforcement officers entering any diversion program might be career-ending.

For a non-citizen entering diversion can also cause serious immigration issues.

According to the State Attorney’s Office website:

“All applicants must provide to the felony PTI program a notarized typed sworn statement detailing the facts and circumstances of the offense for which the applicant has been arrested/charged.

If the sworn statement so provided does not contain facts indicative of knowledge or conduct on the part of the applicant consistent with guilt of all of the elements of the offense (including value of the items stolen if applicable), factually or legally, in the opinion of the State Attorney’s Office, this office will not consent to the applicant’s entry into the program.

All attorneys and applicants should review the State Attorney’s Office Pre-Trial Intervention Guidelines for conditions under which this sworn statement may be used against a defendant.”

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for PTI?

Yes, it is usually not a good do-it-yourself project. If you can afford to hire a private attorney then you should do so.

If you cannot afford a private attorney then you can apply for the services of the public defender’s office. An attorney with the public defender’s office can represent you during the process of applying to PTI.

Either a privately retained attorney or an attorney with the public defender’s office can help you determine whether you are eligible for PTI, whether it is in your best interest to enter the program, and the other consequences that go along with entering PTI. Those other consequences can last a lifetime so speaking with an experienced attorney is important.

Keep in mind that anything you say in the PTI application might be used against you at trial as rebuttal evidence for purposes of impeachment.

If the Applicant is accepted into the PTI program and subsequently unsatisfactorily terminated from the Program the statement MAY be used as evidence in the State’s case at the prosecutor’s discretion, in the event of a trial on the charge for which the Applicant applied for entry into the Program.

How is PTI Different from Probation?

The PTI program looks a lot like probation although probation is court-ordered after a plea in front of a judge. On the other hand, the diversion program is voluntary after you are diverted away from the judge and into the voluntary program.

If you violate probation you can be locked up with “no bond” and then sentenced to anything the judge could have originally sentenced you to which can include five (5) years in prison on a third-degree felony.

On the other hand, if you violate the terms of PTI then your case is just put back on a calendar in front of the judge and you can resume your fight through the normal trial court process as long as you have not entered a plea.

Keep in mind that any statement you made during the application process might be used against you at trial.

The reason someone might not successfully complete the program includes:

  1. being accused of violating the law while under supervision;
  2. the agreement is deemed void because it is determined that you have a prior record of adult criminal felony convictions; or
  3. the agreement is deemed void because your immigration status is no longer valid or has expired.

What Happens if I Successfully Complete the Program?

If you successfully complete the year-long PTI program, then the charge will be dismissed. In order to complete the PTI program you will be required to complete several tasks which can include:

  • pay full restitution to the victim, if applicable;
  • complete self-improvement education;
  • stay out of trouble during the period of supervision;
  • report to the Department of Probation on a monthly basis;
  • complete up to 40 hours of community service; and
  • pay the costs to complete the program.

What if I Want to Fight the Charges and Then Decide Later to Enter Diversion

According to the State Attorney’s Office website, the State Attorney’s Office takes the position that the taking of depositions or the litigation of substantive motions will disqualify a defendant from PTI consideration.

In limited circumstances, this right might be waived by the prosecutor assigned to the case. If the prosecutor has problems proving their case, they might become very motivated to bend that rule.

When Will I Find Out if I’m Eligible for Diversion?

The State Attorney’s Office Will normally offer PTI at the arraignment or shortly thereafter if you are eligible. If you are eligible, then certain documents must be completed and provided to the Department of Corrections within a certain time period after the arraignment.

After the application is received, a PTI officer will review and process the application to determine if the defendant qualifies for the program. The entire process may take from 30 to 90 days from the date the application is received at the PTI office.

After the application is received, a PTI officer will review and process the application to determine if the defendant qualifies for the program. The entire process may take from 30 to 90 days from the date the application is received at the PTI office.

If you want to be considered for the “pre-file” version of PTI then your attorney must act quickly.

What if I Live Out of State?

The State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County, FL,  now says that PTI can be completed out of state by what DOC calls a “Mail-in Status”. The defendant and the probation officer will communicate by phone/mail/email and he/she will need to provide proof of completion of the conditions.

Payments for court costs, fees, and restitution (if any) are all made through DOC’s online pay system called J-Pay. For out of state PTI, the defendants do not physically report to anyone. They would not normally need to return back to Florida as long as they are compliant with all conditions.

The only reason to return would be a PTI Rejection court date to review a non-compliance issued by DOC. I don’t believe notification to school is part of DOC’s protocol but it can always be added as a special condition.

In some cases, the prosecutor might not agree to mail-in status. We’ve also heard of cases in which the defendant meets the PTI requirements and is subsequently supervised within the State of Florida by the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) but since they plan to reside out of the state during the period of supervision, the State Attorney’s Office might require the defendant to enter a plea of “guilty” to the charges and have your sentencing deferred for a period of one year.

Then the supervision was then subject to the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision. In many cases, this defeats many of the benefits of agreeing to diversion. To be eligible under the compact, the Department of Corrections takes the position that the offender must enter a plea of guilty and waive the right to a trial in order to be eligible for supervision under the Interstate Compact.

Then if you complete the program (as determined by the State Attorney’s Office) then you might be allowed to withdraw your plea of guilty and the case will be dismissed. On the other hand, if the State Attorney’s Office determines that you failed to complete the program then you will be sentenced by the Court and the prosecutor might oppose any motion to withdraw the plea.

An application received after the forty-five (45) days from the arraignment requires a waiver letter from the State Attorney’s Office.

To obtain this waiver, the criminal defense attorney for the defendant must mail, fax, or email a request explaining any good cause for the delay. Again, this requirement might be waived by the Assistant State Attorney assigned to the case under limited circumstances.

What if I Get Arrested for a New Crime While in PTI?

The pretrial intervention program (PTI) is a form of pretrial release that is subject to revocation upon a finding of probable cause that the releasee committed a new offense pursuant to Fla. Stat. 903.0471. Harris v. Ryan, 147 So. 3d 1100 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014).

The criminal defense attorney can argue, however, that once the judge decides not to revoke the PTI “pretrial release,” the State cannot seek a modification of the PTI pretrial release without a showing of good cause, i.e. a change in circumstance.

If the first appearance judge was aware of the PTI and the new offense, and did not revoke the PTI pretrial release, it cannot later be revoked by another judge on the basis that the defendant committed a new offense.

Eligibility of Drug Offenses in the PTI Program

Many third-degree felony drug charges are eligible for the Drug PTI program. As explained above, certain drug crimes including possession of heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, or one-half gram or more of cocaine are not eligible for the drug PTI program.

Additionally, the prosecutor will not permit a defendant charged with a qualifying offense into the program when the facts or circumstances indicate that the defendant was involved in dealing, selling, or trafficking drugs.

PTI participants might be subject to random drug testing. One positive drug test will cause a defendant to be dismissed from the program. Although individuals rejected from drug PTI might still be eligible to participate in Drug Court, subject to the rules of that program.

Defendants who have entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in Drug Court are not eligible for the felony PTI program.

Requirements to Apply to PTI in Hillsborough County

In order to be accepted into PTI program for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, FL, the criminal defense attorney will help the client complete the following documents which are then submitted to the program:

  1. PTI Interview Worksheet, signed and notarized;
  2. Felony PTI Initial Data Sheet;
  3. Copy of Information;
  4. Copy of Probable Cause Affidavit;
  5. Statement of Admission, typed, signed and notarized;
  6. Waiver of Rights, signed and notarized;
  7. Deferred Prosecution Agreement, signed and witnessed; and
  8. PTI Document Checklist.

PTI Pre-trial Intervention Information

According to the State Attorney’s Office for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, it is your responsibility to contact PTI and make and keep an appointment to enter the program. The contact information for the PTI program is:

PTI Pre-Trial Intervention7825 N Dale Mabry, Ste 200
Tampa, FL 33614
(813) 975-6524
7402 N 56th St, Building 500
Tampa, FL 33617

During one of your initial appointments with PTI, you will sign a PTI Agreement. The Agreement will outline all of the conditions of PTI that you must comply with. If you fail to meet all of these conditions or fail to sign a PTI agreement, your case will be referred back to the court for further court proceedings.

PTI is an 18-month program supervised by the Department of Corrections.

Conditions of PTI in Hillsborough County

The standard conditions of PTI include:

    • a monthly reporting requirement
    • required school attendance or employment
    • a minimum of 50 hours of community service work
    • no firearms or weapons
    • payment of $40 per month costs of supervision
    • plus any court costs or fees, and payment of restitution, if applicable.

Additionally, you must notify your employer of your PTI status and allow your officer to visit you at your home or employment. There may be special conditions of PTI that are also required. Please see your PTI Agreement for a full listing of requirements.

In addition to the standard conditions, the special conditions might include: restitution, no contact, no violent contact, DCF disqualification, parenting class, or a treatment evaluation.

Additional costs might include $100 for victim assistant project, $130 for cost of investigation, $100 for the cost of prosecution, $12 clerk processing fee, $2 per month training trust fund, $50 public defender application fee, or $1 each month of supervision to First Step of Hillsborough County, FL.

Drug Court PTI in Hillsborough County

If you are referred to Drug Court PTI, your case will be transferred to a Drug Court Division and you will be evaluated by DACCO.

If you are found to qualify for Drug Court PTI, you will have requirements in addition to the standard conditions of PTI.

While in this program you must abstain from using all illegal drugs and alcohol. You must provide your own transportation to your treatment programs.

You will be required to complete substance abuse treatment which may include random urinalysis, acupuncture, and attendance at counseling.

In addition, you will be agreeing that if you fail to comply, you may receive judicial sanctions, including jail time. There will also be periodic case reviews in court and monthly office visits to your officer.

Early Termination for the PTI Program

Early termination is considered on a case by case basis. In order for early termination to be considered, you must successfully complete all conditions of PTI and you must complete at least 9 months of supervision.

PTI does not begin until after you have signed the PTI Agreement. If you have any additional questions about what is required of you, you can refer to the PTI Agreement. If you successfully complete PTI, your charges will be dismissed.

Forms for Entry into the PTI Program

The following form is commonly used for entry into the PTI program in Hillsborough County, FL.









THIS CAUSE having come before the HONORABLE JUDGE __________ upon the agreement of Assistant State Attorney _____________ and Counsel for the Defense ______________ regarding Defendant’s entry into the Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) Program.

The State and Defense stipulate:

  • The following conditions of PTI are: ———–Insert any and all special conditions or state if standard conditions of PTI apply. ———-
  • Speedy trial is waived for the purposes of entering the PTI Program.
  • Based on the Defendant’s understanding and agreement, Counsel for the Defendant has signed the Office of the State Attorney’s “Contact Information and Special Conditions” form on behalf of the Defendant. This form is required by the Office of the State Attorney and is utilized by the office internally to facilitate the PTI Program.
  • The State formally gives notice that it is closing its case file for purposes of allowing Defendant to enter the PTI Program.

The Court, after reviewing the stipulations of counsel, and being otherwise fully advised in the premises therein, it is hereby: ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Defendant is ordered to report to 1313 N. Tampa Street, Suite 124, Tampa, Florida 33602 at or prior to 1:00 p.m. on ____________.

All further court proceedings are canceled to allow the Defendant to complete the PTI Program.

DONE AND ORDERED at Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida on this day of ______, 2020.




Copies furnished to:

Defense Counsel

Office of the State Attorney

Florida Department of Corrections

Additional Resources

Adult Probation and Supervision Offices in the 13th Judicial Circuit – Visit the website of the Florida Department of Correction to learn more about the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit’s Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program in and for Hillsborough County, FL. Find information about the Tampa Circuit Office of the Probation Office, Southern Regional Office located at:

1313 N. Tampa Street, Suite 219S
Tampa, Florida 33602
(813) 975-6524
Fax: (813) 233-3761

Diversion Programs: PTI … Dismissal … Problem Solved…or Is It? – Find an article in The Florida Bar Journal, October, 2008 Volume 82, No. 9, that explains the history of felony and misdemeanor diversion programs in Florida under F.S. §948.08 and §948.16. The article discusses the collateral consequences that attach to entering the program.  The article also identified issues of concern surrounding the acceptance of guilt or responsibility, notice to employer and visits to work or school, preclusion to expunction, mandatory donation provisions, and consequences of violation of a diversion program. The article explains that entering an intervention agreement require consultation with a criminal defense attorney because the violation of the terms of the diversion program can be held against a client on the criminal punishment code score sheet. See Fla. R. Crim. Pro.704 and 3.992.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

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