If you have a clean criminal record and are charged with some type of minor crime, there is a chance the prosecutor might decide to offer you a diversion program. This type of program is commonly used for situations like this, and it can be extremely beneficial for you if it is available. If this is something your lawyer is hoping for, you may want to know a few details about this program before agreeing to accept it.
What Is A Diversion Program?
A diversion program is something that allows you to get your charges dropped if you agree to certain conditions. If you are willing to agree to the conditions you are given and complete them on time, your charges will be wiped away as though they never existed. Some of the conditions you might be required to complete may include:
- Avoiding all types of crimes or problems with the law
- Completing a course, such as anger management or one that teaches you about the problems of theft
- Completing a certain number of hours of community service
You will be required to pay court fees for a diversion program, and you will also have to pay any necessary fees that go along with the conditions you must complete.
Why Do Courts Offer These Programs?
Prosecutors are hired by the state to try cases, and there can be many cases at once. To decrease the amount of time spent in court for these cases, prosecutors may decide to offer diversion programs; however, they will only offer them in certain situations. In most cases, a prosecutor will only offer the program if a person has a clean criminal record and if the crime committed is considered minor. This could include minor drug possession charges, driving violations, or petty theft. By offering these programs to certain individuals, the court can save time and money.
What Is Your Alternative Choice?
In most cases, you will not be given an option of accepting or declining the diversion program offer. It will be what the prosecutor decides, and you will have to accept it. There may be times, though, when a person may fight the charges and therefore fight the diversion program. The only problem with this is that if you fight it, you may have to go through a court trial. If the judge or jury gives you a guilty verdict, you may face steep penalties for the crime. If you had simply accepted the diversion program, you would not have had this risk.
It will typically be cheaper to simply accept and complete the diversion program, than to fight it or fail to abide by it.
What Happens If You Do Not Complete The Requirements?
In most cases, a diversion program will last for one year, but the time frame can vary. If you complete all the requests and conditions of the agreement, you may not have to appear in court when the time is up. You can simply give your lawyer the paperwork that proves you completed everything, and your attorney will file it with the court. At that point, your charges will be gone.
If you fail to do what you are instructed to do within the time frame you are given, you will be required to go through a court trial. You will have to decide how you will plead, and your fate will be decided by a judge or jury.
Being charged with any type of crime can be a scary experience, especially if this is your first offense. To learn more about minor criminal charges and diversion agreements, contact a criminal defense attorney in your area (or visit sites like http://www.jdlarsonlaw.com).