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Criminal Diversion Program
What is it?
Pretrial diversion is a program that offers a second chance for first time offenders by giving the defendant an alternate route to prosecution.
It is a deferred prosecution.
What it is not?
It is not a guilty plea or a no contest plea.
Pretrial diversion happens at any time before the trial begins and before any plea to a charge is made.
How does pretrial diversion work?
Pretrial diversion requires the representation of counsel to waive a defendant’s right to a speedy trial and any protections afforded under the the statute of limitations. It is a voluntary program that a defendant must be pre-screened for by submitting to a series of confidential interviews with pretrial services and the prosecution. At the end of these interviews, it is at the prosecution’s discretion whether or not to recommend the defendant for a pretrial diversion program. After obtaining the prosecution’s recommendation, the judge will be the one to decide if a defendant is admitted to a pretrial diversion program and will set the conditions that must be met for a successful completion. If defendant is admitted into a pretrial diversion program, then the defendant and counsel must sign a pretrial diversion agreement along with the prosecutor, and either the Chief Pretrial Services Officer or the Chief Probation Officer. The diversion period begins as soon as the pretrial diversion agreement is signed. Now instead of going thru the traditional stages of the criminal justice process, prosecution of the defendant will be diverted and the defendant will be placed under the supervision of probation services. Probation services will administer the specific conditions recommended by the prosecution and laid out by the judge. The defendant must meet these specific conditions as part of their pretrial diversion agreement. If the defendant successfully completes the specified conditions then the defendant will not be charged and the case against the defendant may be dismissed.
Who qualifies for the option of pretrial diversion?
A defendant facing his or her first charges for a criminal offense where the nature of the offense falls under the category of pretrial diversion crimes and the defendant is not likely become a repeat offender. Most important is that the defendant is a U.S. citizen with strong ties to the community.
What provisions does a pretrial diversion agreement contain?
The agreement outlines the terms of the pretrial diversion program and the conditions of supervision. As part of the agreement, the defendant is not required to admit guilt but must acknowledge responsibility for their actions. After all, the objective of pretrial diversion is for defendants to be given the opportunity to assume responsibility and rehabilitate themselves.
What is the time frame of a pretrial diversion program?
The period of supervision for a pretrial diversion program is not to exceed 18 months but may be reduced.
What are the conditions that must be met?
A defendant participating in a pretrial diversion program must have good conduct throughout the program, accompanied by probation, counseling, some type of community service, and depending on the defendant’s needs, education and/ or employment may be required.
What happens if the conditions are not met?
If a defendant fails to meet any of the conditions imposed by the judge and agreed to by the defendant as part of the pretrial diversion agreement, probation services will inform the prosecutor. The prosecutor then has the option to end the defendant’s unsuccessful pretrial diversion and continue with the trial stage of the criminal justice process as if no diversion had ever occurred. If the prosecution decides to end the defendant’s pretrial diversion and resume prosecution, then the defendant will be notified by the prosecutor.
What happens when the conditions are met?
If all of the conditions imposed by the judge and agreed to by the defendant as part of the pretrial diversion agreement are met, probation services will inform the prosecutor that the defendant has successfully completed the pretrial diversion program. The Chief Pretrial Services Officer or the Chief Probation Officer will then proceed to file an FBI Disposition Form R-84 so that the record will indicate successful completion and the prosecutor will formally decline prosecution of the defendant.
Who should you contact?
If you or a loved one was just arrested and you do not have a criminal history, making this your first offense, contact Monder Law Group you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program. At Monder Law Group, we are knowledgeable attorneys with experience obtaining pretrial diversion programs for our clients. We understand that mistakes happen but one mistake does not define a person and does not have to follow them the rest of their lives. Pretrial diversion programs are all about giving second chances to first time offenders who acknowledge they have made a mistake and would like to move forward with their life. Our attorneys will work zealously to obtain a second chance for you to learn from your mistake and turn your life around.
If you have any questions about a criminal diversion program, contact Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder at 619-405-0063 or visit San Diego Criminal Defense