An interesting story recently came out of a community just northeast of us here in Morristown. The case demonstrates how a criminal defense professional can sometimes help find unique options for defendants facing criminal charges.
Last fall, police responded to reports that a local resident had been kidnapped. The alleged victim, a young woman in her early twenties, eventually was able to call police herself from the trunk of a car — her own car — in a local park. After police retrieved her from the trunk, they reviewed park surveillance footage which showed her driving there by herself and closing herself into the trunk of the car. She later claimed that she was following instructions from a couple who had kidnapped her and threatened to kill her if she didn’t do what they said.
The young woman was charged with filing false police reports and creating a false public alarm. Police, however, were reportedly familiar with the defendant and aware that she has a mental health condition. Her defense attorney was able to help her enroll in the Pre-Trial Intervention program here in Morris County.
As a non-violent first-time offender, she will serve a year and a half of probation, perform community service and undergo a psychological evaluation. If she completes the program and follows up with whatever treatment is recommended, the charges will be dismissed and she’ll have no criminal record as a result of the incident.
Pre-Trial Intervention is an option whereby some defendants in New Jersey may be able to similarly avoid a criminal trial. We’ll take a closer look at the details of Pre-Trial Intervention in a follow-up post.