Pretrial Diversion Programs are a form of deferred prosecution. They are typically intended for first-time offenders for misdemeanor or less serious felony crimes. However, we can sometimes get our clients into the program if they have some criminal history or are charged with a more serious felony. The purpose of these diversion programs is to give first-time offenders the opportunity to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction by diverting their case from trial court. If successfully completed, the criminal charges can be dismissed.
If a person is denied entry into the program by the prosecutor, there is an alternative known as a Pretrial Intervention Program. Unlike Pretrial Diversion programs which are run by the State Attorney’s Office, the Pretrial Intervention Program is run by the judge and is governed under Florida Statute 948.08.
According to the statute, the offender may be eligible for the program if they have no more than one prior conviction for a nonviolent misdemeanor and are currently charged with a misdemeanor or third-degree felony. To enter the program, the offender must receive approval from the program administrator, state attorney, judge presiding over the case, and consent from the victim of the crime. However, there is an exception for certain offenses like drug possession which do not require the consent of the state attorney.
There are different types of diversion programs for different crimes. These crimes include:
- Resisting an officer without violence
- Underage drinking
- Possession of Alcoholic Beverages by Persons Under Age 21
- Possession of a False Driver License or Identification Card
- Driving while license suspended
- Driving under the influence
- Domestic violence
There are also diversion programs for juveniles. Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program (JDAP) is a counseling intensive program and also has a domestic violence component.
Pretrial Diversion programs are similar to probation. Those who enter the program will have to report to a supervising officer, pay program fees, and complete other sanctions such as community service, counseling, or other treatment. Unlike probation, if someone fails to abide by the terms of the program, they are not arrested for a violation but rather their case will be placed back on the trial docket.
These programs are a great option for first-time offenders or those with only one prior conviction. It’s a good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney to have them review your case. You only get to participate in Pretrial Diversion once in a lifetime. An attorney can tell you whether it’s best to do the program or if there is another way to have your case dismissed.
Call Orlando criminal defense Attorney Brandon Gans today for a free consultation to see if you are eligible for a Pretrial Diversion program.