A Straight Forward Answer And Explanation

Alex Kornfeld, Esq. 

PTI, or pre-trial intervention, is a statutorily enacted pre-trial program that allows those charged with a crime in the state of South Carolina to escape the stresses of trial preparation, a lengthy trial, and a possible guilty plea or a finding by a jury that one is guilty. 

 PTI has many advantages that traditional cases are not afforded.  For example, there is certainty in the outcome.  If a Defendant is eligible for PTI, it is entirely in that Defendant’s hands to enter the program, complete the programs, and pay restitution if any is ordered.  This should give a Defendant the peace of mind that he controls his own destiny.  After the Defendant completes the program the charges will be dropped.  At that time a Defendant has the opportunity to have his record expunged.  Unfortunately, there are varying Court cost involved.  There is no flat line fee but a Defendant can expect to pay approximately $300.00 in Court cost. 

Several counties have a program similar to PTI for juveniles charged with a crime.  For example, Greenville County offers juvenile diversion services; the cost is currently $200.  Pickens County offers a similar program called the juvenile arbitration program.  It is important to note that the programs in place for a juvenile charged with a crime are similar to PTI they are not the same and there is no rule that states one that was enrolled in a program as a juvenile must be denied PTI as an adult.

 Who Is Eligible For PTI?

The State has prosecutorial discretion when deciding whether a criminal defendant is eligible for PTI.  A solicitor will consider whether she will offer PTI on a case by case bases.  In laymen terms, a solicitor has the power to do what he or she wants to do.  That means a Defendant can be denied PTI for a crime that would otherwise be statutorily eligible for PTI.

 Who Isn’t Eligbile For PTI?

Pursuant to the South Carolina Code of Laws the following are NOT eligible for PTI:

  • Persons previously considered for PTI;
  • If the person is charged with:
    • Blackmail
    • DUI or DUAC
    • A traffic-related offense which is punishable only by fine or loss of points like a speeding ticket
    • The following fish, game, wildlife, or commercial fishery-related offenses:

                      resisting arrest by the use of force, violence, or weapons against an employee of the department while engaged in his duties, a law enforcement officer aiding in the work of the department, or a federally commissioned employee engaged in like or similar employment

                        night hunting deer or bear

                        killing or possessing a wild turkey during the closed season

                        roost shooting wild turkeys between official sunset and official sunrise

                        shooting wild turkeys over bait

                        trespassing to hunt waterfowl 

  • a crime of violence as defined in Section 16-1-60[i]
  •  an offense contained in Chapter 25 of Title 16 (like CDV) if the offender has been convicted previously of a violation of that chapter or a similar offense in another jurisdiction. 

If you are still reading this article, I assume that you or your loved one may still be a candidate for PTI.  Talk with your lawyer and be proactive in your case.  There is only a certain window of time in which a Defendant is allowed to enter PTI. If you or your loved one fails to show initiative, a Solicitor has little reason to offer PTI and your lawyer may fail to mention it to you because he may not have the confidence that you will be able to complete the program.  

Make sure that you or your loved ones take the process seriously; you should make sure you are an active participant in your case.

 What You Need To Bring With You When You Apply For PTI

In most jurisdictions, when you apply for PTI you must have:

  1. A $100.00 money order (That Means No Cash/No Check)
  2. Your picture ID
  3. Your Social Security Card
  4. A copy of your warrant(s) or ticket(s). 

Alex Kornfeld is a lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina.  He primarily practices law in the area of criminal defense, family law, and small business law. 


[i] SECTION 16-1-60. Violent crimes defined.

For purposes of definition under South Carolina law, a violent crime includes the offenses of: murder (Section 16-3-10); attempted murder (Section 16-3-29); assault and battery by mob, first degree, resulting in death (Section 16-3-210(B)), criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree (Sections 16-3-652 and 16-3-653); criminal sexual conduct with minors, first and second degree (Section 16-3-655); assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, first and second degree (Section 16-3-656); assault and battery with intent to kill (Section 16-3-620); assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-3-600(B)); kidnapping (Section 16-3-910); trafficking in persons (Section 16-3-930); voluntary manslaughter (Section 16-3-50); armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(A)); attempted armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(B)); carjacking (Section 16-3-1075); drug trafficking as defined in Section 44-53-370(e) or trafficking cocaine base as defined in Section 44-53-375(C); manufacturing or trafficking methamphetamine as defined in Section 44-53-375; arson in the first degree (Section 16-11-110(A)); arson in the second degree (Section 16-11-110(B)); burglary in the first degree (Section 16-11-311); burglary in the second degree (Section 16-11-312(B)); engaging a child for a sexual performance (Section 16-3-810); homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(1)); aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(2)); inflicting great bodily injury upon a child (Section 16-3-95(A)); allowing great bodily injury to be inflicted upon a child (Section 16-3-95(B)); criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-25-65); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death (Section 43-35-85(F)); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury (Section 43-35-85(E)); taking of a hostage by an inmate (Section 24-13-450); detonating a destructive device upon the capitol grounds resulting in death with malice (Section 10-11-325(B)(1)); spousal sexual battery (Section 16-3-615); producing, directing, or promoting sexual performance by a child (Section 16-3-820); lewd act upon a child under sixteen (Section 16-15-140); sexual exploitation of a minor first degree (Section 16-15-395); sexual exploitation of a minor second degree (Section 16-15-405); promoting prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-415); participating in prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-425); aggravated voyeurism (Section 16-17-470(C)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death with malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(1)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death without malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(2)); boating under the influence resulting in death (Section 50-21-113(A)(2)); vessel operator’s failure to render assistance resulting in death (Section 50-21-130(A)(3)); damaging an airport facility or removing equipment resulting in death (Section 55-1-30(3)); failure to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle resulting in death (Section 56-5-750(C)(2)); interference with traffic-control devices, railroad signs, or signals resulting in death (Section 56-5-1030(B)(3)); hit and run resulting in death (Section 56-5-1210(A)(3)); felony driving under the influence or felony driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration resulting in death (Section 56-5-2945(A)(2)); putting destructive or injurious materials on a highway resulting in death (Section 57-7-20(D)); obstruction of a railroad resulting in death (Section 58-17-4090); accessory before the fact to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16-1-40); and attempt to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16-1-80). Only those offenses specifically enumerated in this section are considered violent offenses.