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A pretrial conference is a meeting held before trial to outline the issues of a case and set timeframes for legal and procedural matters. Pretrial conferences are governed by rules of state and federal courts, which vary by jurisdiction.
Pretrial intervention (PTI) is governed by state laws, which vary by state. It provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process of ordinary prosecution. It may be connected to rehabilitative services that focus on the connection between the social, cultural, and economic conditions that often result in a defendant's decision to commit crime.
By successfully completing the terms of the PTI, a defendant may be able to avoid charges on their criminal record. Pretrial intervention may also be referred to as a conditional discharge or diversionary program.
The following is an example of a state's pretrial intervention conditions:
Supervision under the PTI program may average from one to three years. Certain standard conditions are imposed on those accepted into PTI, such as, random urine monitoring, and assessments for fees, penalties and fines. Additional conditions may also be imposed to require the performance of community service, payment of restitution, and submission to psychological and/or drug and alcohol evaluations with compliance to recommended treatment programs. If a defendant successfully completes all the conditions of PTI, then the original charges are dismissed and there is no record of conviction. If a defendant does not successfully complete the conditions of PTI, then the defendant is terminated from the PTI program and the case is returned to the trial list.