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Criminal Dispositions-Pretrial Probation

PRETRIAL PROBATION - a Favorable Form of Disposition in a Criminal Case

This blog article is the second in a series of articles discussing dispositions in criminal cases. The first article dealt with Pretrial Diversion. This article will deal with the concept of Pretrial Probation.

Pretrial Probation is a disposition that is not commonly used in criminal cases, but exceptionally beneficial to a defendant. This disposition can be available to a defendant with no prior criminal record or a very minor record. It is not available for every type of case, and the seriousness and facts of the case may dictate its availability.

With such a disposition the defendant does not plead guilty or admit responsibility to any criminal activity; instead, the case is left open for a period of time, usually six months to one year. If during that period of time the defendant complies with certain court requirements the case will be dismissed. Some of the court requirements may include substance abuse counseling, psychological counseling, anger management counseling, performing community service, surrendering a driver's license to probation or any other condition that the court chooses to impose.

In order to take advantage of such a disposition the defendant should hire competent counsel to deal with the criminal case. The defendant, under the guidance of his attorney, should put together a package of requirements or restrictions to be imposed upon the defendant by the court. The intent would be to persuade the court and the District Attorney's Office to accept this package of requirements or restrictions in the form of pretrial probation. If the court accepts this package and the defendant complies the case will be dismissed.

The advantage of such a disposition is that the criminal record (CORI) of a defendant will show that the charge was dismissed; it will not show any period of probation. In effect, anyone who is able to access a defendant's criminal record will only see the crime charged and the fact that it was dismissed. This is a disposition that a defendant should discuss and consider with his attorney.

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