What is the Pre-trial Intervention Program?
The Pre-trial Intervention Program is a diversion program that is offered to certain offenders who qualify for participation as an alternative to prosecution. Participants receive coordinated assistance in educational and vocational referrals, personal and group counseling, and referrals to other community agencies appropriate to their needs.
What is the Purpose of the Program?
The program is designed to meet the needs of certain nonviolent offenders in an attempt to deter their future criminal or disorderly behavior, to minimize loss to victims of these crimes through payment of restitution by the offender, to serve the courts by reducing the number of less serious cases, permitting more time for the more serious crimes, and to protect the community by closely supervising the accused following arrest until final disposition of the case.
Who is eligible for Participation?
To be eligible for participation in the Pre-trial Intervention Program, an individual may need to meet the following criteria:
Limited to nonviolent crimes
Restitution when required
Drug related - drug testing and/or counseling
No continuing pattern of criminal behavior
The individual must acknowledge his/her wrongdoing
The individual must show a good faith willingness to participate in the program
How are Participants Selected?
Offenders meeting the criteria are referred to the program following a review of the pending charges by an Assistant District Attorney. After an inquiry is made of the offender's prior criminal record and the victim is contact, a letter is sent to the offender requesting that an appointment be scheduled. At this appointment the offender is interviewed and given an overview of the program. The offender then makes a decision to participate in the program or go to court. The Pre-trial Intervention Program director makes the final decision as to the acceptability of an offender for the program. In order to help defray additional expenses in the application of the program services a supervision fee is required each month that the offender participates.
What Happens in the Program?
Each participant will meet with the director monthly for individual meetings. Some participants may also be required to attend group meetings upon recommendations of the director. One goal of counseling will be to help the participant gain an awareness of the legal and social consequences of criminal behavior. The director will also assist the participant in any other problem areas. Referrals will be made to community agencies that can provide services relative to the participant's needs. Also, community service hours may be required at a non-profit organization.
Is Participation Mandatory, and, if not, then what are the Advantages to a Defendant in Choosing to Participate?
Because the presumption of innocence applies to the period between arrest and trial, program participation is completely voluntary and the right not to participate is explained to all potential participants. The advantages to participation are:
Offers the defendant an opportunity for self-development and to gain an awareness of the consequences of future criminal behavior
To avoid additional costs as related to further criminal prosecution
To avoid possible criminal conviction and incarceration and/or fine
Allows a person to remain in the community with limited disruption to family life and employment
Successful completion results in the charge being 'Dead Filed" (no further action is taken on the case)
On certain charges the participant who completes the program satisfactorily may request to petition the court for expungement of the arrest record. This can be done through a private attorney.
How Long Does a Participant remain in the Program?
Active participation may last six (6) to twenty-four (24) months. The exact duration of participation will depend upon the seriousness of the offense, the attitude of the participant and how well the participant has met the goals of the program as determined by the director.
What is required of a Participant in Order to Complete the Program Successfully?
Participants must attend all sessions and keep all other appointments that are mutually agreed upon by the participant and director. All participants must be employed or enrolled in school before they can be recommended for satisfactory termination. Restitution, if required, must be paid in full before program completion. A subsequent arrest or violation of program rules will result in the participant's case being returned to the prosecution section of the District Attorney's Office for prosecution.
What Happens when a Participant Completes the Program?
When a participant completes the program satisfactorily, the pending charge is "Dead Filed', conditioned upon the participant complying with the requirements of the Pre-trial Intervention Program.
Does the Program Provide any Special Services?
Participants who are college students may, in certain cases, be referred to the university they are attending for supervision and counseling services. The program also has reciprocal agreements with other diversion programs and community agencies in other areas.
Who do I Contact?
District Attorney's Pre-trial Intervention Program
201 Opelousas Street
Donaldsonville, LA 70346