Williamson County, Texas has a reputation for being tough on those accused of crimes. That reputation may be well earned but a relatively new program for first time offenders know as Pre Trial Intervention may be an opportunity for those accused of crimes in Williamson County to escape the harsher punishments that often await repeat offenders.
The concept behind the Pre Trial Intervention program in Williamson County is that many first time offenders will not repeat their offense if they are handled correctly, especially if they are given the opportunity to earn a dismissal of their charge as part of their deal. Only first time offenders will be accepted. Any arrest for anything in any State will bar you from admission.
The program is set up so that first time offenders are placed on a highly modified form of probation. This probation lasts for six months (instead of the minimum year for normal probation) and requires that they do a number of tasks and refrain from certain activities as explained more thoroughly below.
The Pre Trial Intervention program requires that participants be accepted. The process of acceptance into the program has three main steps. The first is a written application. This application includes standard “getting to know you” type questions such as name, address, who lives with you, and contact numbers. It also requests references, though these people are never called.
The one twist to the written application is the essay portion. There are two essay questions. The first asks for your version of the events that led to your arrest. What they really want to see is an admission of guilt. The easiest way to handle this section is to write a factual account of what happened. Leave out any emotions or anger toward law enforcement or the court system as this is counter-productive. Make sure that your version of the offense matches fairly closely with the police officer’s report. Any large discrepancies will draw attention and appear to be attempts on your part to hide from or deny responsibility. The core of this program is admission of guilt. If you are not clear in your essay that you are admitting guilt you will not get any further.
The second essay question asks you to write about your goals and dreams. What they really want to see here is how a conviction for whatever you are accused of will damage your future. Good examples of this are “I want to go to nursing school and a conviction will keep me out” or “I will lose my job if I am convicted.”
The written application is submitted and reviewed by the County Attorney’s office. If your application is accepted you move to the next stage, the interview. At the interview you will meet with a probation officer who specializes in the Pre Trial Intervention program. At that time you will submit any documents showing completion of upfront requirements such as clean drug tests or drug and alcohol assessments. At this interview it is incredibly important to be truthful about your past and the incident that caused your arrest.
If you pass the interview you will be accepted into the program. A meeting will be set up to sign the contract officially admitting you. This contract states that you agree to enter the program and follow all of the requirements and if you do the State will dismiss the charges. If you fail to meet the requirements you agree to appear before the Court and plea guilty to the charge and accept a regular probation sentence.
The Pre Trial Intervention program requires that you do a certain amount of community service through the Williamson County probation department. You will also be given classes to attend, which you will pay for. The type and number of classes is set based on the type of charge. Regularly reporting in by email to the probation officer is also a requirement as is requesting and receiving permission to leave the State of Texas for any reason. Last but not least at the contract signing you will be required to pay $360.00 by money order.