Diversion is a program available to first time offenders that allows you to avoid a criminal conviction. Diversion is a great opportunity to take advantage of if you find yourself facing criminal charges. It is the only way to guarantee that you will avoid a conviction.
Is Diversion Automatic?
No. Diversion is not automatic, and every offense is not eligible for diversion. You must first apply for the program. There are both felony and misdemeanor diversion programs. If you think that you are eligible for diversion, you should consult an attorney who can assist you in the application process.
How Does Diversion Work?
Once you go through the application process you must be accepted. Upon acceptance you must complete the terms of your diversion. It is similar to a probation system. Depending on the nature of the underlying offense, you will have a list of requirements to fulfill in order for you to complete the program and for your charges to be dismissed. This can be a theft class, community service, drug or alcohol treatment, anger management, etc. The supervision period can last for up to one year.
Once you complete the terms of your diversion program, the case is set back in front of the judge or magistrate and the charges are dismissed.
Once the charges are dismissed, your attorney can assist you in getting the charges expunged or sealed. That way, even the charges will not be visible in most background checks.
What Charges are Diversion Eligible?
Most first time, non-violent charges are diversion eligible. Typically, this includes theft, drug possession, disorderly conduct, underage drinking offenses, etc. are accepted into the diversion programs.
Who Can Deny my Application?
Diversion in most courts is run by the prosecutor’s office or a subsidiary of the prosecutor’s office. They provide, review, and process the applications. The prosecutor’s office can object to diversion acceptance for a variety of reasons. If there is a particular fact, victim, or the nature in which the crime was allegedly committed. The prosecutor’s office may also object to diversion acceptance if the police officer has an issue with you participating in diversion. That usually happens if the applicant was rude, aggressive, or uncooperative during the arrest.
What Charges are Not Eligible for Diversion
Typically, violent offenses, OVI’s, and crimes involving police officers are not eligible for diversion. This usually includes: assault, domestic violence, resisting arrest, OVI, OVUAC. Some courts have separate programs that deal with some of these offenses outside the standard diversion program. It is important to consult an attorney to explore all options before proceeding with your criminal charges.
Why Should I Participate in Diversion
Diversion is the only way to guarantee that you will not have a criminal offense on your record. It is a time commitment, and does require that you take it seriously. But, if you complete the program successfully, you will not have any criminal conviction on your record and the charges can be expunged.
How Does the Process Work?
At your arraignment- you will request that the case be referred to diversion. Your attorney will then assist you in the application process. Once accepted, you will enter into a ͞guilty͟ plea to the offense. This is a necessary step to the process. In order to participate in diversion, you will need to plea guilty to the underlying offense. HOWEVER, the judge does not accept or enter that guilty plea. It is held in abeyance while the applicant completes the diversion program. At completion, the case is dismissed.
What Happens if You Don’t Complete the Diversion Program?
If you fail to complete the requirements of the diversion program, the judge will accept and enter the guilty plea, with no trial or hearing. You will have a criminal conviction on your record. And that conviction cannot be appealed.
If you are interested in learning more about the diversion program, please contact an attorney at Suhre and Associates.