As a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer I get asked all the time about pre-trial interventions.  People go to the internet, and they read about it, but don’t know exactly what it is.

Pre-Trial Diversions, or Pre-Trial Interventions are special programs that exist in some counties where you can basically earn a dismissal.

These programs are typically designed for first time offenders who get arrested for certain types of cases.  You are much more likely to be considered for a PTI or PTD on a misdemeanor case, but some counties do offer them on some felonies on a case by case basis.

Typically, in order to be considered for the program you have to put together an application packet to turn into the DA.  In my practice I typically request the following from my clients:

  • A letter explaining a bit about their life, their goals, and why they feel they should be in the program. The letter needs to 100% accept responsibility for the case and explain why this will never happen again.
  • A letter of apology as appropriate
  • A negative drug test
  • A class as appropriate (Anti-Theft, Drug Awareness, etc)
  • Proof of Education and Work Background
  • 3-5 letters of recommendation (where the individuals know about the arrest)
  • Anything else that portrays them in a positive light (military service, community service, etc)

Once we turn in the packet the DA reviews and if they decide to allow entry into the program then they will generate a contract.  The contract is typically anywhere from 90 days to 1 year depending on the type of case.  The longest I have ever had was a 3-year PTD on a felony evading arrest case for a 17-year-old high school girl.

On the last day of court you will sign the contract which has all the conditions listed, see the judge, and get a reset for the length of time of the contract.  During the PTD you will be supervised by the probation department.

A Pre-trial intervention (or diversion) is basically probation without being on probation.  You do everything you would normally do on probation, but you do it while your case is still pending.  You never plea guilty, and after you finish the program the case will be dismissed on your last court date if you did everything you were supposed to do.  If your case does get dismissed it will eventually be eligible for expunction.

If you violate any terms or conditions of the program, the DA can terminate the contract at any time.  If that happens they will put you on the docket as if you had never been in the program and you start your case all over again.

In some instances you sign a waiver in the contract which allows them to use your admission letter against you if you go to trial.

This program is designed for people who are guilty and do not want to go to trial.  Of course, if you are not guilty then we will fight your case until the end.  But if after we sit down together and evaluate your case you want to look at options that can result in you having your destiny in your own hands, then this could potentially be an option for you.

Whether you get into the program is dependent on many factors including the type of case, the county, the DA, the judge, your criminal history.  For a free consultation on your case feel free to give me, Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Eric Benavides, a call at 713-222-2828.