What is PTI? What is the purpose?
Who is eligible? How to apply?
How are participants selected? What happens while participating in the PTI program? What are the advantages?
Why must a fee be paid? What happens when someone is not accepted or does not complete?
What happens when someone successfully completes? What is the Pre-Trial Intervention Program? Return to Top
Pre-Trial Intervention (or PTI) was created by an Act of the South Carolina General Assembly in 1980. It is an intervention program in which selected offenders may participate as an alternative to prosecution. Participants may receive educational and vocational referrals, individual and group counseling referrals, and referrals to other appropriate community agencies. What is the Purpose of the PTI Program? Return to Top
PTI is designed as an attempt to deter offenders from future criminal behavior; to minimize loss to victims of these crimes through payment of restitution by the offenders; to serve the courts by reducing the number of less serious cases, thereby permitting more time for the prosecution of more serious crimes; and to protect the community by supervising the accused following his acceptance into PTI until final disposition of the case. Who is Eligible for the PTI Program? Return to Top
Any defendant, 17 years old or older, charged with a crime may apply to PTI. Application, however, does not guarantee acceptance. Acceptance is solely at the discretion of the solicitor and is further determined by the nature of the offense, the recommendation of the arresting agency and any victim, and prior criminal history. Participation in PTI is strictly voluntary and the right not to participate is explained to all potential participants. No one who has previously participated it in any PTI program will be accepted. The PTI is a one-time opportunity. How do you Apply to the PTI Program? Return to Top
The defendant may contact the PTI office to schedule an appointment to submit an application at any time following arrest or may be allowed to apply when appearing for Roll Call at General Sessions court. However, prior to application, the PTI Director may require a referral from the Solicitor, Judge, arresting agency, or attorney/public defender. An accurate and complete application must be submitted along with a copy of the arrest warrant or ticket, a photo I.D., Social Security card, and a non-refundable application fee (no checks). An attorney/public defender is not necessary to apply or be accepted to PTI. An appointment with a counselor designated by the PTI Director may be required as part of the application process in order to obtain a recommendation as to any appropriate counseling needs. How are PTI Participants Selected? Return to Top
The PTI Director will conduct an assessment interview at the time of application and may obtain a recommendation regarding counseling needs. Next, the arresting agency and any victim(s) will be contacted by mail to allow them the opportunity to express their views as to the defendant's participation in PTI. An inquiry is also made into the defendant's criminal history. Once the investigation is complete, the Director will meet with the Solicitor to discuss the case and determine eligibility. The defendant will be notified by mail as to the decision and given instructions on how to proceed. What Happens in the PTI Program? Return to Top
If it is determined that a defendant is eligible for PTI acceptance, the defendant will be notified to meet with the Director for the purpose of entering into a contract setting forth all requirements which must be met in order to successfully complete PTI. The balance due for PTI fees as well as any restitution owed to the victim(s) is due in full at that time unless a payment plan has been approved in advance by the Director. Defendants may be required, among other things, to participate in counseling (and their expense), perform community service, complete their high school education, and maintain employment. Curfews, drug screens, and prison tours may also be required. A subsequent arrest or violation of PTI rules may result in unsuccessful termination for PTI and the case(s) being returned to court for prosecution. All fees and restitution must be paid, in full, and all requirements designated by the Director to the defendant must be fulfilled in order to successfully complete PTI. What are the Advantages to the PTI Program? Return to Top
The advantages of participation in PTI are as follows:
1. Provides any victim(s) with a means to collect restitution;
2. Reduces expenses related to criminal prosecution for both the State and the defendant;
3. Offers the defendant an opportunity for self-development and awareness of the consequences of further criminal behavior;
4. Offers the defendant an opportunity to avoid a criminal history as well as a possible fine and/or incarceration;
5. Offers the defendant an opportunity for limited disruption in family life and employment. Why Must a Fee be Paid for the Program? Return to Top
All defendants must pay a fee according to the statues that create PTI. PTI receives no tax money and is a self-supporting agency. Currently, the total fee for PTI $350. The application fee ($100) must be paid, in full, at the time the application is submitted. No application will be processed without the application fee having been paid. If the defendant is determined to be eligible for acceptance into PTI, he participation fee ($250) is then due at that time. Checks are not acceptable forms of payment and all fees are non-refundable and subject to change. Any counseling expenses incurred by the defendant is not part of the PTI fees due. What Happens if a Person is not Accepted or does not Complete? Return to Top
In the event an applicant is rejected for any reason from participating in PTI or in the event a defendant fails to complete all requirements designated by the Director including but not limited to the payment of PTI fees and restitution, his or her charge(s) are returned to court for such disposition as may be deemed appropriate by the Solicitor if it is a General Sessions offense, or by the lower court judge, if it is a Magistrate's or Municipal Court offense. No fees or restitution paid prior to termination will be refunded to any defendant. What Happens if a Person Completes PTI? Return to Top
In the event a defendant successfully complete all requirements designated by the Director including but not limited to the payment of PTI fees and restitution, their charge(s) will be dismissed and no further action shall be taken in their case(s). In addition, the defendant is then entitled to obtain in order from the court expunging (destroying) their arrest record as it pertains to those charges. The Supreme Court requires that a filing fee be paid to the Clerk of Court as well as an administrative fee to the Solicitor's office for each expungement.