A Pretrial Diversion is a voluntary program for defendants charged with misdemeanors or criminal violations. When a defendant successfully completes the program, a recommendation is made to the court to dismiss the charges. To participate in the program, a defendant must be approved by the district judge with the consent of the county attorney. The program requires a sliding scale fee based on income using the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Defendants who complete the program receive multiple benefits. They avoid getting a conviction on their record. They also see positive results from helping others and changing their lives through education, training, treatment or counseling. The court system saves costs by reducing the number of court cases. Victims are paid restitution and the community benefits from the volunteer work clients are required to perform.
Who Is Eligible for Diversion?
While specific criteria for acceptance into a diversion program can vary by jurisdiction, generally, individuals with no or little criminal history and who have been charged with a misdemeanor or criminal violation are eligible for the program. Examples of offenses that may result in diversion are alcohol intoxication, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, littering, public intoxication, possession of alcohol by a minor, possession of marijuana, no insurance and shoplifting.