Diversion Programs for your 1st criminal offense

Diversion Programs for Your 1st Criminal Offense

This Isn’t Your Plan

We do not generally plan for a life of crime. We get caught up with the wrong crowd. We feel desperate to find a quick solution to a serious problem. We suffer from mental illnesses or addictions.  We simply seem trapped. These things may force us to make bad decisions and possibly commit illegal actions. 

Diversion Programs for your 1st Criminal Offense

For many offenses, the judicial system would really prefer to help you rather than prosecute you. This is done through a diversion program, which may also be referred to as a pretrial diversion program or a pretrial intervention program. Different counties and states offer different diversion programs for different charges..

What is a Diversion Program?

Diversion means directing something to a different route. For example, you may need to divert water from a puddle that forms in your backyard with a small trench that points the water into the street. Likewise, a diversion program in the legal system diverts a court case from flowing into the court system. 

In exchange for this diversion, you may pay restitution, participate in community service hours and/or participate in related classes. You may be required to check in weekly, remain confined at home or submit to drug or alcohol screenings. In some situations, you may be asked to accept responsibility for your actions (admit guilt). These requirements vary widely between states and even counties, so be sure to hire a lawyer familiar with your local laws.

Come On! Why Would the County Prefer Diversion?

When you enter one of the county’s diversion programs for your 1st criminal offense, your court case never sees trial. Your case is processed very rapidly. This is an advantage to the court because it will cause less burden on the system. Not only will this free up clerical aspects outside of the courtroom, but the burden for judges, prosecuting and defense attorneys, public defenders, and others, will be greatly lessened.

Why Would I Say I’m Guilty?

It is difficult to admit guilt, but a diversion program offers a second chance and a much cleaner record. It’s true, you likely will have to pay back any money you wrongfully took or pay for damage caused by the commission of the crime. Through attendance at classes aimed at your specific charge, you will show your willingness to learn new behaviors, and you will work toward and practice continued good behavior. Additionally, you may be required to complete a certain number of community service hours. This may help you to find new routes for change and success. 

Essentially, in a diversion program for your first offense, you have to make things right, help others, and show that you’ve learned your lesson. Of course, you also need to prove that you can stay out of trouble. After a predetermined amount of time with no further violations, your case is officially closed. Your charges may then be reduced to a lesser sentence or they may even be dropped completely keeping your record free of your crime.

More to Read

Check back on our blogs for the next two months which will focus on diversion programs related to DUI and juvenile offenses. For additional reading right now, see the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Website. https://www.pcsoweb.com/alternative-sentencing 

Acceptance of a Diversion Program for Your First Offense Might be your Your Best Defense

Bartlett Law Offices is familiar with Diversion Programs in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. We will help you find the most successful outcome possible for your case. Visit our webpage and fill out our simple form. We can even text you back. Or, if you’re just looking to speak to someone, call us. We’re available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m at 727-712-7502.

We believe that before you are in need of a second chance, you need the best defense for your first chance! Bartlett Law Offices has the experience you need to handle any criminal charges against you. You can trust that we will provide you with a professional, ethical, and knowledgeable defense. 

NOTE: This information is specific to Florida. Laws in other states vary, and you should seek counsel in your own state. None of these statements is intended to replace professional counsel regarding your specific issue as the nuances of the law are vast and complex