A pretrial diversion program, also known as an early intervention program, is available to criminal defendants as an alternative to jail in many counties. These programs include court supervision and community service. By agreeing to participate in a diversion program you must meet specified conditions, such as attending treatment or support programs for a given amount of time and paying court fees. These programs are meant to encourage behavioral change through counseling within the community and to make judicial resources available for more serious crimes.
A diversion program allows you the opportunity to avoid a lengthy court proceeding and upon completion of the program, all criminal charges are normally dismissed.
Diversion programs are available only in certain cases. You may be eligible if:
- You are a first time offender;
- The crime committed was minor (misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies); and
- A diversion program exists in the County where the crime occurred.
While the Prosecutor will normally inform you of your eligibility, you or your lawyer may also request diversion. A judge can also find you eligible for diversion during your first appearance in court.
The requirements for diversion programs vary and a local criminal attorney can provide you with the most applicable information in your area. In addition, a good attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you to participate in a diversion program.