Criminal Cases and Diversion Eligibility
Were you recently arrested for a misdemeanor offense, and not sure what your next step should be? Were you arrested for driving while suspended, or is your child facing criminal charges? If so, you may be eligible for entry into a diversion program. Florida Pretrial Diversion programs are designed to route defendants to a volunteer or community service pathway and avoid criminal penalties. This allows the defendant to avoid time served in community detention centers or jails, while contributing to the local community.
A defendant might be eligible for diversion if they were arrested due to a first-time offense, if the offense is non-violent, or if the offense is drug possession related. Veterans are also eligible for diversion under specific conditions. Juvenile defendants are also eligible for diversion for misdemeanors or acts committed on school grounds. If you are a defendant who is facing charges for the first time, or you were arrested for a suspended license in Florida, Attorney William Wallshein can assist you in applying for a diversion program with the Florida Courts.
How Does Diversion Work? Do I Have to Pay a Fine?
Diversion is applied for out of court or during a pretrial court hearing. It is an opportunity for the defendant to avoid hefty fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record that can negatively affect future employment and prospects. The defendant applies for diversion and the terms and conditions of the program are agreed upon with the State’s Attorney prior to a request made to the presiding Judge. Defendants convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence can apply for misdemeanor only if they have no other charges against them, no previous criminal record, and if the domestic violence victim consents to the defendant’s enrollment. If a defendant is subsequently arrested for domestic violence, they are no longer eligible.
MDP, Veterans Diversion & Juvenile Diversion
The Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) allows first-time misdemeanor defendants an opportunity to avoid criminal conviction if they complete a rehabilitation program and accept responsibility for their actions. The terms are set at arraignment between both parties. Veterans eligible for diversion if they are charged with a non-violent misdemeanor. They must be considered a legal veteran who must have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression or PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) to qualify for a pre-trial diversion program. And, those suffering from mental health disorders are also eligible if they have a documented diagnosis and mental health intervention would benefit them while avoiding criminal penalties.
Juveniles eligible for diversion include minors charged with habitual truancy, or a misdemeanor. Children under the age of 12 are automatically considered for an age-appropriate diversion program. Enrolling allows the child to avoid criminal convictions and a juvenile detention sentence. Youth charged with misdemeanor drug offenses are eligible for diversion if they complete a rehabilitation program and enroll in case management under the supervision of the presiding judge. In most diversion cases for both adults and juveniles, no fine is required, but the defendant must be willing to actively participate in the diversion process, meet with specialists, seek mental health or substance abuse treatment, and possibly complete community service.
Call Attorney William Wallshein
If you are charged with a similar crime for the first time, or if your minor child is facing charges, call West Palm Beach criminal attorney William Wallshein for a detailed explanation of the diversion programs available to you and next steps in your case. If you are an eligible candidate, you may be able to avoid criminal citations, a permanent record and jail time.