Pretrial diversion programs are options that provide an alternative to going to trial or pleading guilty. These programs help to divert people from the criminal justice system and instead toward probation or another type of supervised release. If a person completes the diversion program successfully, their case could be dismissed. If they fail, then they can be prosecuted with the original offense.
Those are the very basic facts about pretrial diversion programs, but those facing them as an option generally have many questions about the process. Keep reading to get answers to your questions. Contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation if you are facing a crime that might offer a diversion program.
What is Involved in a Pretrial Diversion Program?
That depends largely on what you are charged with and the specifics of your alleged crime. The purpose is to help rehabilitate rather than punish, so you can expect that some of what is involved in your diversion would relate to the crime you are charged with.
For example, if you are accused of a drug crime, you might be required to complete a drug rehab program or substance abuse program, pass ongoing and random drug tests, meet with a court or program officer on a regular basis, and maintain full-time student status or employment.
Is Everyone Able to Choose a Diversion Program?
No. in most cases, only a first-time offender, or someone with only very minor charges, is going to be eligible. There are eligibility requirements for different types of programs though judges sometimes have leeway. This is where your criminal defense attorney can help advocate on your behalf.
Are All Offenses Eligible?
No. For the most part, only non-violent misdemeanor charges are eligible for diversion programs. If you are charged with a violent crime or a serious crime, then the court will likely assume that the risk of releasing you is too great.
Is It a Requirement to Plead Guilty First?
Sometimes. If the program you are considering requires that you plead guilty, then you have a risk because if you do not complete the diversion, then you will be sentenced. Programs that do not require a guilty plea are generally better for the accused because if they do not complete the program, then the state still has to prosecute them to get a guilty conviction.
Do You Have Additional Questions? Call Us Today
If you have additional questions about diversion programs, we invite you to contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation. We can go over the pros and cons as they apply to your specific situation.