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What's the difference between PTI (pre-trial intervention) and Probation?

Many people become confused about the difference between probation and pre-trial intervention (PTI). Both are "resolutions" to a criminal case. While there are some similarities, there are some major differences that you should be aware of.

While both PTI and probation are supervised by either local county probation or Florida Department of Corrections, depending on whether your charge is a misdemeanor or felony respectively, probation is the more severe punishment. When you are put on probation it means you were either adjudicated or had adjudication withheld and the charge will remain on your record. A term of probation can be anywhere from six months for a second degree misdemeanor to a life probation for life felonies. The punishment for violating probation is also more severe. Violating probation can result in a period of incarceration in the county jail or a lengthy one in prison.

By comparison, a PTI agreement can be much less strenuous and has a major advantage if completed. Probation officers will still be supervising you while on PTI, but you are not officially on "probation". The period of PTI can vary with the charge, but is generally considerably shorter than a period of probation. PTI also generally has less strenuous requirements as compared to probation. If you violate your PTI agreement somehow, you will likely not get thrown back into jail immediately. Your PTI officer will most likely send the state attorney a form stating why you violated and the state attorney will then issue a summons requiring you to come back to court and deal with the criminal charge as you would have before. The result of completing PTI successfully is that your charge gets completely dropped by the state attorney.

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