SD Criminal Lawyer Expains Diversion Programs

Diversion Programs in San DiegoSan Diego Criminal Lawyer
Criminal charges, even relatively minor ones, can have far-reaching negative consequences on your life.  In addition to court-imposed punishments like jail time, fines, probation and community service, a criminal conviction can affect eligibility for employment, school, professional licensing and immigration status.  A diversion program is a program that allows a defendant to avoid a criminal conviction through a completion of the program.  Diversion programs typically include some educational component, like drug treatment, anger management, prostitution awareness programming, theft victim impact education and much more. 

The idea behind a diversion program is that some offenders, particularly those with little to no criminal history will benefit more from an opportunity to avoid a conviction than from suffering a conviction and being sentenced to jail.  Effective negotiation and presentation of mitigating evidence (evidence of schooling, employment, community service, military service, character/reference letters, etc.) just could help you avoid a conviction in your criminal case.  Getting a diversion program is rarely easy in San Diego, but prosecutors and judges will give certain offenders a break when the case is property presented and the defendant deserves a chance to avoid a conviction.

First time offenders are generally considered the best candidates for diversion programs.  Someone who has never been arrested or never convicted of a crime is less likely to re-offend than someone with a lengthy criminal history.  For this reason, judges and prosecutors are more likely to offer a diversion program to a first time offender.  Those with prior convictions may still be eligible for diversion, but it will be less likely.

There are two general kinds of diversion available in criminal cases.  Informal, or "pre-filing" diversion provides an opportunity to avoid a criminal case ever being filed.  This means that there is no court record.  Formal diversion is entered in cases where there is a filing, and the defendant is given an opportunity to earn a dismissal by completing certain conditions and staying out of trouble for a set period of time (usually between 6 and 18 months). 

Criminal law for juveniles is especially focused on rehabilitation, making diversion a perfect fit.  While most juvenile convictions can be sealed later on, avoiding the conviction in the first place is preferable, especially when it comes to applying for colleges, jobs and student loans during early adulthood.  If you or a loved one is facing a juvenile petition, it may be possible to avoid a conviction through a juvenile diversion program.  Consult with an experienced SD criminal defense lawyer to discuss this and other defenses.  More about Juvenile Criminal Defense

Both Veterans and active members of our Military provide the rest of society with security.  Unfortunately, this difficult task can be detrimental to the health and well-being of service-members, particularly those who have been engaged in combat.  PTSD, substance abuse, violent behavior, etc. are sometimes of consequence of the stress and dangers endured by these brave men and women.  Fortunately, the courts do recognize that no one in our society is more deserving of a second chance (diversion program) than our veterans and service members.  If you or a loved one is a veteran or active military member and is facing criminal charges in San Diego, it may be possible to avoid a conviction through the military court programs and to avoid negative consequences from within the military.  Contact an experienced San Diego Criminal Attorney now.

Diversion programs are available in a wide variety of criminal charges, almost solely in misdemeanor cases since the passage of California Prop 47.  Minor offenses like public intoxication, disturbing the peace, minor in possession of alcohol, solicitation/prostitution, drug possession (PC 1000), simple assault, and petty theftDUI cases are almost never eligible for any form of diversion, absent extreme circumstances.  The severity of the charge is one major factor in determining suitability for diversion, but as discussed above, the criminal history of the suspect/defendant will probably be the most important deciding factor.

The sooner than an attorney is involved in the criminal defense process, the more likely it will be to achieve a diversion outcome.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide guidance for investigation, mitigation and properly present the case for diversion to the prosecuting attorney or judge to seek out diversion.

In Federal cases, it is possible to enter into diversion through a process called a "proffer".  In essence, it involves assisting the US Attorney's Office, DEA, FBI, ATF or other federal agency with an investigation into other criminal acts. 
This type of diversion is typically used only by the Federal government and available only in federal court.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime in San Diego, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.  To discuss your suitability for a diversion program, or to avoid a conviction in other ways, contact us now for a Free Consultation.  619-930-9515.

Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
San Diego DUI Lawyer
T: 619-930-9515
By Nicholas Loncar      


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