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How to Get a Criminal Charge Dropped

        Florida statute section 948.08 and section 948.16 pertain to what are called "pretrial intervention programs."  If someone has been charged with a crime in Florida and he is permitted to enter a pretrial intervention program (or "PTI"), the charge against that person is eventually dropped if the individual successfully completes the program.

        Florida statute section 948.08 states in part that "[a]ny first offender, or any person previously convicted of not more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, who is charged with any misdemeanor or felony of the third degree is eligible for release to the pretrial intervention program on the approval of the administrator of the program and the consent of the victim, the state attorney, and the judge who presided at the initial appearance hearing of the offender."  This section further provides that "a person who is charged with a felony of the second or third degree for purchase or possession of a controlled substance under chapter 893, prostitution, tampering with evidence, solicitation for purchase of a controlled substance, or obtaining a prescription by fraud; who has not been charged with a crime involving violence . . . and who has not previously been convicted of a felony nor been admitted to a felony pretrial program referred to in this section is eligible for voluntary admission into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program . . . ."

        Florida statute section 948.16 states in part that "[a] person who is charged with a misdemeanor for possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia . . . and who has not previously been convicted of a felony nor been admitted to a pretrial program, is eligible for voluntary admission into a misdemeanor pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program . . . ."

        Successfully completing a PTI program is one way of getting a criminal charge dropped without having to go through the stress of a trial.  It is important to understand, however, that just because a criminal charge has been dropped does not mean that is has been expunged.  Getting your criminal record expunged is an entirely different procedure that is described more fully in the section of this website entitled "Sealing Your Record."