Reinstatement Into Pretrial Intervention (PTI) After Defendant Was Alleged to Have Failed to Abide by the Original Terms of PTI
Appellate Docket No.: A-0107-20
Decided October 14, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Division of New Jersey reversed a denial of reinstatement into pretrial intervention (PTI) after defendant was alleged to have failed to abide by the original terms of PTI.
In State v. Holloway, In September 2013, when Holloway was eighteen years old, she had an encounter with police officers and was charged with three crimes: third-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(b); third-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12- 1(b)(5); and third-degree resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a)
In July 2014, Holloway pled guilty to third-degree resisting arrest and was admitted into PTI. At the plea, she was represented by a private attorney. The PTI order of postponement stated that Holloway was to be in PTI for twelve months. During that time, she had to comply with conditions, including to remain arrest-free, to regularly report to her probation officer, to perform sixty hours of community service, to maintain full-time employment, to complete a G.E.D. program, and to undergo a drug abuse evaluation.
In May 2015, a probation officer filed a report asserting that Holloway had violated her PTI conditions. The report stated that Holloway had failed to (1) remain arrest-free; (2) report to her probation officer on five occasions; (3) complete her hours of community service; and (4) reschedule a drug abuse evaluation. A PTI termination hearing was scheduled for July 10, 2015, and notice was sent by regular and certified mail to Holloway’s last-known address.
At the July 10, 2015 hearing, neither Holloway nor any lawyer representing her appeared. A probation officer informed the court that the notice had been mailed to the address Holloway had given the probation office, the certified mail had been returned unclaimed, but the regular mail had not come back. The court then issued a bench warrant for Holloway’s arrest.
At the hearing on July 10, 2015, the court did not address whether the alleged violations had occurred; whether Holloway had willfully violated the PTI conditions; or whether Holloway remained a viable candidate for PTI. That same day, an order was entered terminating Holloway from PTI. There is nothing in the record showing that another hearing, separate from the July 10, 2015 hearing, was conducted.
In 2019, Holloway moved to be readmitted into PTI. She represented that she never received notice of the PTI violation charges or the July 10, 2015 hearing. Holloway explained that she had learned of the warrant for her arrest in 2019, when she applied for a job and a background check revealed the outstanding warrant.
The judge did not conduct an evidentiary hearing and instead explained he read and reviewed the motion papers and issued a written opinion relying on a 2015 report of probation explaining her violations and ultimately denying her request for readmittance.
Holloway appealed and the Appellate Division reversed and remanded finding that an evidentiary hearing is necessary to determine Holloway’s violations of PTI and her reasons to request readmittance.
This case is important to understand pretrial intervention (PTI) is a great alternative for individuals who qualify as first time offenders. PTI provides alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process, such as probation with a dismissal of the criminal charges upon successful completion. Terms will be set upon entry of PTI and failure to abide by the terms could result in the termination of PTI. If PTI is terminated unsuccessfully, the defendant could face a sentence imposed from the original charges. As seen above, getting back into PTI once unsuccessfully terminated is a very difficult task.
If you or someone you know have been charged with any indictable offense or disorderly persons, or you have questions regarding pretrial intervention (PTI), contact the experienced attorney at Hark & Hark to ensure you are adequately defended, otherwise you could have negative impacts on your case like the defendant above.
At Hark & Hark, we represent clients in Superior Court for criminal matters like the present case. We vigorously defend our clients by fighting to uphold their constitutional rights, and ensure law enforcement follow proper procedures to legally make an arrest.
We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing criminal charges similar to this circumstance, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Hightstown, Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township, Lawrence, Pennington, Robbinsville, Trenton, and West Windsor.