Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There is an Alternative to Federal Incarceration—It is called Pretrial Diversion


Pretrial diversion (PTD) also called pretrial intervention is an alternative sentencing mechanism which may divert certain eligible offenders from traditional criminal justice prison sentencing and federal incarceration. Pretrial diversion candidates (offenders) are processed into a program of supervision and services administered by the U.S. Probation Service. Pretrial diversion allows first-time offenders a second chance at life, avoids federal prosecution, avoids a prison sentence, and avoids having a felony conviction on his record. It also allows the offender to not be labeled as a felon or ex-con which helps him in securing employment and does not close many of the doors that the label of a “felon” does. In the majority of cases, offenders are diverted at the pre-charge stage. An eligible defendant for pretrial diversion that successfully completes the program will not be charged or, if charged, will have the charges against him dismissed. If the defendant does not successfully complete the program, he will be returned for prosecution.

Although the details of the pretrial diversion program may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, individuals arrested for the first time are given an option of keeping the crime off of their record without having to go to trial. Pretrial diversion is a program for certain first-time offenders to avoid being marked by a felony conviction for the rest of their lives. Pretrial diversion is known by a multiplicity of names, such as pretrial intervention, good behavior, withheld adjudication, and deferred prosecution.

The program works something like this. A first time offender who is charged with a criminal offense of a relatively minor nature and who appears to be an individual who is not likely to be a repeat offender may be given the option of pretrial diversion. If the defendant accepts the offer, he will enter a plea of guilty to the criminal offense. The judge however will not enter an order of guilty in the case. The defendant is not guilty until the judge actually issues an order finding him guilty. At this point the defendant is in limbo between pleading guilty and being convicted.
Rather than find the person guilty, the judge will withhold his order of guilt initially and place the defendant under certain restrictions similar to probation or supervised release. If the defendant complies with the terms and conditions of the pretrial diversion agreement, he will have the charges dismissed. He will not be convicted of the crime and will not go to federal prison. This enables someone who made a one-time foolish mistake to get another chance at life with a clean record and not be scarred by a term in a federal prison. Pretrial diversion offers first time offenders hope without prison incarceration.

The pretrial diversion program is a benefit for both the government and the defendant. PTD accomplishes certain goals for both the defendant and the prosecution. First, it provides a vehicle for more expedient restitution to the victims of the crime. If the defendant serves time in prison his hourly wage is $0.12 per hour and the payment of restitution or fines is a long, painful process. Secondly, it deters future criminal behavior by diverting first time offenders from a traditional prison term to community supervision and the performance of services or even home detention. The defendant realizes that he was very close to federal incarceration, being labeled as a felon and will act more responsibly in the future by getting his second chance. Finally, it allows federal prosecutors to concentrate on major cases and those high profile cases that advance their careers, which by the way the way they all want. In most cases, the period of supervision or probation does not exceed eighteen (18) months.

A defendant, in order to get into the pretrial diversion program must meet certain criteria. A good Federal Prison Consultant knows the criteria and can prepare an initial evaluation or review for a defendant to determine his eligibility. If the defendant is eligible, the Consultant will prepare a comprehensive report documenting pretrial diversion as an alternative sentencing mechanism for the defendant for presenting to the Court.

In times when the Department of Justice has a 97% guilty plea rate in federal criminal cases and federal prosecutors have over a 75% conviction rate following trial and 91% of federal criminal defendants receive a prison sentence, isn’t it in a federal defendants best interest to call a reputable Federal Prison Consultant and determine if he is eligible for Pretrial Diversion or an alternative sentencing mechanism. I know if I was facing federal prison, I would!

More information on this subject and other forms of alternative sentencing can be found by calling Michael Frantz at 954-522-2254 or going to the JailTime Consulting website,
http://www.jailtimeconsulting.com.
Michael Frantz is a leading Federal Prison Consultant and Prison Coach with Jail Time Consulting (JTC) in South Florida. The staff of JTC provides sentence reduction strategies, research, and many pre- and post-sentencing services for their clients. Michael has authored a bestselling book on federal prison titled, “Jail Time, What you need to know…Before you go to federal prison!” He has also authored over thirty-five JT Special Reports© on various federal prison issues affecting both the inmate and his/her family. They are available on the website. He writes a daily blog on the JTC website http://www.jailtimeconsulting.com answering readers’ questions and comments. New updates on current sentence reduction legislation and articles can be followed at Blogger at http://jailtimeconsulting.blogspot.com/. He is a nationally recognized authority on federal prison and has published over 40 articles nationwide. He is on Facebook at Jail Time Consulting, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jail-Time-Consulting/251197811579744. He has been contacted by ABC’s 20/20, the Oprah Winfrey network, and the Fox News Network, as well as many radio and TV stations nationwide as an expert resource on federal prison. He can be reached at 954-522-2254, 800-804-4686, or at mike@jailtimeconsulting.com.

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