A pretrial diversion is an alternative to prosecution that’s meant to circumvent the standard criminal justice process by entering a program that involves supervision and other services administered by the U. S. Probation Service. In most cases, it’s done before any formal charges have been made or before the trial begins. It’s also done voluntarily and often requires a signed agreement. Anyone who completes the program won’t be charged. And if they are, they’ll be dismissed. However, anyone who doesn’t complete the program will be subject to prosecution.
The Purpose of a Pretrial Diversion
The primary reasons for a pretrial diversion include:
- To prevent future criminal activity from certain people by keeping them away from traditional criminal processing.
- To save prosecutive and judicial resources for concentration on major crimes.
- To provide a vehicle for restitution to communities and the victims of certain crimes.
The supervision period can’t be more than 18 months, but it can be reduced. However, you may not be eligible in any of the following circumstances:
- You have been accused of an offense that should, under current guidelines, be diverted to the State for prosecution.
- You have had two or more prior felony convictions.
- A current or formal public official accused you of an offense related to the violation of public trust.
- You have been accused of an offense related to national security or foreign affairs.
Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.
How a Pretrial Diversion Works in the State of Texas
Sometimes called a pretrial intervention, a pretrial diversion in Texas can be a way to avoid conviction. But to qualify, you must meet certain conditions. The Texas criminal justice system offers this program to certain offenders as a way to avoid prosecution, but you must meet certain eligibility requirements. The program is voluntary, but there are certain pros and cons you have to consider.
If you complete the program, you can avoid any charges because they’re dropped as soon as you finish it. You can avoid going to prison, and you can go back to your work or any other regular activities. However, you must enter a guilty plea to make the arrangement. And if you violate any of the terms, the prosecution can continue to pursue a case against you.
There are some exceptions and flexibility related to your eligibility for a pretrial diversion, but there are some basic rules to qualify for the program. Some of them include but may not be limited to:
- You must be a first-time offender.
- You can’t have a history that involves a pretrial diversion.
- The crime of which you’re being accused is a misdemeanor.
- The crime of which you’re being accused isn’t related to family violence.
- You haven’t been arrested for a crime of a sexual nature, unless it involves prostitution.
- You’re not a documented member of a gang.
If you meet any of these and any other requirements designated by the Law, you can apply for a pretrial diversion. And the process will have the following components:
- A written application with certain supporting documents (such as your resume, references, school transcripts, a list of achievements, or any other information that works in your favor).
- An essay that describes the circumstances of your arrest and the acceptance that what you did was wrong. However, you must not attempt to shift blame or make accusations that won’t be viewed favorably.
- A second essay that includes an explanation of why you want to avoid jail (such as family responsibilities, career goals, or educational aspirations).
- An interview with a probation officer, who will ask you questions about your written materials and other relevant topics.
If your application is accepted, you need to meet certain conditions. And once you finish the program, your charges will be dismissed. Some of the requirements for completing a pretrial diversion in Texas include but may not be limited to:
- The completion of a certain number or community service hours.
- Regular counseling and/or any educational sessions related to the offense (such as drug or alcohol treatment).
- The avoidance of any other criminal activity.
- Regular pretrial diversion drug testing.
- Regular reports to a probation officer.
There may be many other requirements, which will depend on the circumstances of your case. Be sure to speak to someone at Gale Law Group for more information about a pretrial diversion in Texas. We’re a criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi who will fight for you. So if you want someone who will work hard to protect your rights and your freedom, get in touch with us today!