If you have been accused of a crime, you may be eligible for a diversion program as an alternative to jail time or other penalties. However, not everyone accused of a crime is eligible for a diversion program, and there are different types of programs for different crimes.
Here is more about diversion programs. Consult a criminal attorney in Florida to learn whether you may be eligible.
What Is a Diversion Program?
A diversion program is a program that could “divert” you out of the criminal justice system, giving you an opportunity to expunge the charges from your criminal record and avoid jail time. These programs are available to both minors and adults who meet certain criteria. They require you to fulfill requirements specific to your case and can vary depending on the jurisdiction where your crime occurred.
Types of Diversion Programs
There are four different types of diversion programs for criminal cases:
Precharge Diversion Program
A precharge diversion program could prevent you from being charged with a crime. If you are eligible, the prosecution may contact you and inform you of your opportunity to participate in this program.
Through a precharge diversion program, you can avoid a conviction or jail time, and your charge will not appear in the public legal system. However, just because the prosecution has offered for you to participate in a precharge diversion program doesn’t mean you should always take this opportunity. Be sure to speak with a criminal defense lawyer before agreeing to anything.
Pretrial Diversion Program
A pretrial diversion program is an opportunity to dismiss charges that have already been placed against you. Successfully completing the program could require the court to dismiss your charges, preventing further legal action. You wouldn’t need to go to trial for your crime; instead, you could “divert” out of the criminal justice system.
Misdemeanor Diversion Program
A misdemeanor diversion program is available to people who have committed mild misdemeanors. For example, let’s say someone is accused of stealing a pair of socks from Walmart. While this action is a crime, it’s relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, and the court would likely allow the accused person to complete a diversion program instead of other penalties.
Once the person has completed the diversion program, the court would dismiss the theft charge and remove it from the person’s record. If you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor, talk to a criminal attorney in Florida to learn whether you may be eligible for a diversion program.
Felony Diversion Program
Certain felony charges may also be eligible for diversion programs. The court usually only considers these programs for first-offense felonies or for third-degree offenses that don’t involve violence or selling narcotics. Examples of third-degree felonies include assault and drug possession.
Once you get into second-degree felony territory and above, or you have a criminal record with past felonies, you typically won’t be eligible for a diversion program. But it won’t hurt to talk to a criminal defense attorney about your eligibility.
Who Is Eligible for a Diversion Program?
So, how do you know whether you may be eligible for a diversion program? If you were accused of a mild misdemeanor, third-degree felony, or first-offense felony, you may be eligible. The court offers diversion programs on a case-by-case basis, and having experienced legal representation can help you encourage the court to provide this alternative penalty.
Contact the Law Office of Michael White Today
Attorney Michael White has helped numerous individuals across Florida navigate criminal investigations and facilitate placement into a diversion program. Our team at the Law Office of Michael White is a private practice dedicated to protecting the interests of those accused of crimes in Florida. Contact us anytime at 954-270-0769, where someone will be waiting for your call.