What Is a Diversion Program? 

 June 23, 2015

By  LMW Attorneys

When someone commits a low-level offense, going through the normal criminal case process may not be necessary. Acknowledging that offenders with charges for minor crimes may not be best served in the traditional court process, many states offer diversion programs.

Put simply, diversion programs are an alternative type of sentencing as opposed to traditional sentencing, which often include incarceration. While diversion programs are different in each state, each program emphasizes counseling, rehabilitation and the like over punishment.

How Does a Diversion Program Work?

Diversion programs differ state by state. However, most diversion programs span from six months to multiple years. In any case, diversion programs emphasize counseling, treatments, and behavior modification through classes, vocational training, group therapy, community service, and more.

When an individual completes his or her diversion program, the case will return to court for a final time. If the individual has successfully completed the program, the case will be dismissed. While their record typically won’t be sealed or destroyed automatically, they may be able to expunge or seal their record on their own.

On the other hand, if the defendant does not successfully complete their diversion program, or fails to adhere to the terms, the case will return to court. From here, the judge will decide the appropriate course of action to take and can impose a sentence.

Who Can Qualify for a Diversion Program?

Not everyone can qualify for a diversion program. Programs typically limit participation to individuals who:

– Have no prior convictions for the charge they are facing

– Have committed a minor, non-violent crime

– Have no probation revocations

– Have a “clean” period prior to being arrested

– Have not recently participated in another diverse program

What are Other Types of Alternative Sentencing?

In addition to diversion programs, there are numerous types of alternative sentencing, including:

– Probation

– Community Service

– House Arrest

– Work Release

– Rehabilitation

Call the Attorneys at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins

If you or a loved one is in need of any legal guidance, contact the attorneys of Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins today. We understand that the legal process can be confusing, which is why we are here to help you every step of the way. To learn more about diversion programs, contact us today or learn more about our Criminal Defense and Personal Injury areas.