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Baton Rouge, LA 70801

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DUI First Time Offenders Pretrial Diversion Programs

Anyone can make a bad decision, and those decisions can have life changing consequences. Louisiana has a vigorous DUI/DWI enforcement program, and for many people, this is their only encounter with the criminal justice system.

What is a Pretrial Diversion Program?

Pretrial Diversion, also known as Pretrial Intervention (PTI), is a program for first offenders (and some second offenders) to engage in a series of classes, community service, and paying fines and fees to get their charge dismissed.

Although many licensing boards now ask for the details of charges which were resolved by Pretrial Diversion, the willingness and ability to go through Pretrial is a positive, because Pretrial is demanding.

The usual DUI sentence is:

  • a fine of $300-$500,
  • 32 hours of community service (including 16 hours picking up trash on the roadside),
  • attending a driver improvement school,
  • attending the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Impact Panel,
  • and a substance abuse evaluation.

Pretrial is all of that, and often more, particularly by way of fees and fines payable to the District Attorney’s Office. The precise requirements vary based on the specifics of the offense – a simple traffic violation and a relatively low BAC means fewer requirements, a high BAC and a traffic accident may mean substantially higher requirements.

Completing DUI Pretrial in East Baton Rouge Parish generally takes a year or more, during which time, the Court will want periodic assurances that the defendant is actually in the program, and working the program. The Pretrial Diversion programs are very popular, and their staffs are busy – keeping on top of them to make sure the paperwork is flowing correctly is an important part of successfully completing Pretrial.

Will a Louisiana DWI stay on my record?

The fact of arrest is difficult to expunge, so it typically shows up as an arrest without a disposition, so the criminal history doesn’t show a conviction or sentence. The critical point is that if a person successfully completes Pretrial, that DWI cannot be used to enhance a second offense DWI, unlike a person who gets sentenced under Article 894, Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure.

Baton Rouge DWI Attorney to Guide You Through PTI

First offenders generally qualify for Pretrial Diversion, but the specifics are something you may want to negotiate with the prosecutors, depending on the numbers of traffic charges or other circumstances. Likewise, having an attorney making sure that the Court doesn’t proceed with prosecution while Pretrial is being completed is an important benefit.

Former DUI prosecutor Joseph Scott, is familiar with these programs, the structure of the programs, and how to negotiate with the prosecution. Before your family decides to invest in an expensive, year long, pretrial diversion program, you owe it to yourself to consult with an experienced DWI defense attorney, and find out all of the options, before you commit your family’s resources.

Baton Rouge defense attorney Joseph K. Scott, III, can evaluate the quality of the arrest, the weight of the state or city’s case against a defendant, and give you significant insight into the prosecution process. You need an attorney to assist you with these charges – you deserve an attorney who will give you an honest assessment of whether he’d prosecute the case or not, and what the best way to minimize the damage to your family is.