Diversionary Program

What Is a Diversionary Program?

A diversion program involves entering into a written contract or agreement with the Office of State Attorney. Each contract has general and special conditions that must be completed by the defendant. The general conditions are contained in every diversion contract and the special conditions are those conditions unique to a particular defendant’s case. Most diversion programs involve monthly status meetings with a diversion officer or a judge. Generally, only those defendants with little or no criminal history record charged with a nonviolent offense will be eligible for diversion. Diversion is a very attractive resolution for many defendants because, upon the successful completion of the diversion program, the State DISMISSES the charges, which is obviously the best possible scenario in any criminal case.

What Are the Different Types of Diversion Programs?

Pre-trial Intervention (“PTI”): may be available to those charged with a felony.

Pre-trial Diversion Program (“PDP”) may be an option for someone charged with a misdemeanor.

Veterans Treatment Court (“VTC”) is a diversionary program that is available only for veterans charged with misdemeanors.

Mental Health Court (“MHC”) may be an option for those who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder or condition.

Drug Court: is only for those defendants charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. The Office of State Attorney will usually not agree to drug court for a defendant if it appears from the facts or circumstances that there was some type of distribution or sale of the controlled substance.

This is a very attractive resolution for many defendants because, upon the successful completion of the diversion program, the State DISMISSES the case. All charges are dismissed, which is obviously the best possible scenario in any criminal case.

How Long Does Diversion Last?

The length of a defendant’s diversion program will depend on the nature of the charge and facts and circumstances of the case. Generally speaking, the average misdemeanor diversion contract lasts between six months and a year, and the average felony diversion contract lasts at least one year and sometimes as long as two years.

What Are the General Conditions Found in Most Diversion Contracts?

Nearly all diversion contracts require that the defendant have a job unless he or she is a student.

  • Not possess or carry any firearms or weapons;

  • Not change residence or employment without first obtaining permission from diversion officer;

  • Not leave county of residence without first obtaining permission from diversion officer;

  • Not associate with any person or persons involved in any criminal activity;

  • Not use intoxicants to excess or possess any drugs or narcotics unless prescribed by a physician;

  • Random drug testing

What Are the Special Conditions Found In Most Diversion Contracts?

The special conditions contained in a diversion contract vary greatly. They are specifically tailored toward the specific charge, facts, and circumstances of a defendant’s case. By way of example, if a defendant is charged with a theft offense, it is most likely that the special conditions of the diversion contract will include community service, an anti-theft / impulse control class, and restitution.

How Much Does It Cost To Be In Diversion?

The cost of the diversion program is $50.00 per month, so it ultimately depends upon the length of the contract. Additional expenses may include the cost of investigation, cost of prosecution, or restitution, if applicable.

What Happens If I Fail To Complete the Diversion Contract?

If a defendant fails to complete the diversion contract or does something to violate the terms of the diversion agreement, then he or she is removed from the program and the case is placed back on the trial docket. This occurs even if the defendant is in the last month of his or her agreement.

If you, a friend, or family member are charged with a crime and would like to discuss whether participation in a diversion program is an option, regardless of whether the initial crime allegedly occurred in Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Rockledge, Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, West Melbourne, Melbourne Village, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Palm Shores, Grant-Valkaria, Mims, or anywhere else in Brevard County, contact me to immediately schedule your free consultation.

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