Georgia Pretrial Diversion Lawyer
Many good people who have never made a mistake in their lives all of a sudden find themselves face to face with the criminal justice system. This can be terrifying. The prospect of jail time and a permanent criminal record are only some of the typical concerns. The good news is that most courts offer what are called pretrial diversion programs to first time arrestees on certain charges. Pretrial diversion, if successfully completed, results in dismissal of the charges and removal of the arrest from one's criminal history.
Types of Cases Eligible for Pretrial Diversion
Not every type of charge is eligible for a diversion program. The most common ones include misdemeanor shoplifting, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, underage consumption of alcohol and certain misdemeanor domestic violence charges. However, even if you are charged with something other than what is typical for a diversion program, sometimes exceptions can be made and sometimes a criminal defense lawyer familiar with these issues can still work out a resolution with the same end result.
Many superior courts in Georgia have diversion programs even for felony charges, such as drug offenses and theft offenses. These programs are similar in structure to the programs offered for first-time misdemeanor arrests, but will normally be longer programs with more stringent requirements.
Pretrial Diversion Requirements
Every court has its own variation of what is entailed in pretrial diversion. Typical requirements include an alcohol and drug abuse evaluation (and any recommended follow-up treatment), random drug screens and community service. Other requirements will be dependent on the specific nature of the charges.
Generally, the individual in the program will have to report to some form of supervisor. It is sort of like being on probation, and in fact some court systems use the probation officers to supervise those people in the diversion programs.
At the end of the program, as long as the participant has satisfied all of the conditions and has not been subsequently arrested on new charges, the case will be dismissed. Additionally, the arrest itself will be restricted (formerly known as expunged) from your permanent record.
Overall, pretrial diversion is a great opportunity for people who have never before found themselves facing prosecution for a crime and want to ensure that the situation does not impact them for the rest of their lives. Ben has helped hundreds of people in his career avoid convictions under these circumstances. Contact Ben to discuss your case.