Diversion Agreement

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Diversion Agreement

A Brief Introduction About the Diversion Agreement

A diversion agreement is usually the specification of formal terms and conditions which a defendant should fulfill to have the charges against him or her being dismissed. Through this agreement, a criminal defendant is needed to obey the law for a specific time. No defendant would be required to enter any appeal towards a criminal charge as a condition for diversion.

A Diversion Agreement is also referred to as Pre-trial Diversion. 

Who Takes the Diversion Agreement?

Pretrial diversion programs are not made available to everybody. They are generally reserved for first time criminals who are charged with less serious crimes. The eligibility necessities might vary by state, but few following requirements are to be met:

  • The individual is a first-time wrongdoer.
  • The wrongdoing was a misdemeanor (few states permit non-violent felonies).
  • The county where the wrongdoing was committed has a diversion program already ready.

Also, pretrial diversion is a common sentencing choice for juvenile wrongdoings and juvenile offenders. Such programs could help younger defendants maintain a decent record and could assist them to remain functional in their communities.

Purpose of the Diversion Agreement

Diversion agreement would not constitute plea bargaining. Diversion is involved in avoiding the judgment of criminal guilt.

Pretrial diversion refers to a procedural option for certain criminal wrongdoings. Diversion is where the defendant is permitted to go through alternative sentencing choices instead of spending time in jail or prison. This kind of sentencing alternative focuses on rehabilitation of the behavior rather than on the penalty aspects of the criminal justice system. Diversion programs frequently contain remedies such as community service, counseling (particularly for substance abuse), as well as fines.

Therefore, “pretrial diversion” refers to a diversion that is granted before the beginning of the trial. Courts often issue order pretrial diversion as a measure to save judicial resources, as the entire trail doesn’t requisite to be completed.

Contents of the Diversion Agreement

When making a diversionary program, legislators classify the types of wrongdoings that make offenders eligible for it. These wrongdoings are usually minor and non-violent, like petty theft, personal possession of some drugs (not possession for sale), and in few states, driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs. Some states comprise assaults that involved minor or no injuries, and some comprise domestic violence as well as child abuse or neglect.

The factors that prosecutors must consider are:

  • nature of the wrongdoing;
  • is there any victim involved or not;
  • amount of monetary loss or restitution owed towards a victim;
  • the criminal history of the offender;
  • the strength of the Prosecutor’s case;
  • how busy the Prosecutor’s office is managing more serious wrongdoings 

How to Draft the Diversion Agreement?

In case the prosecutor agrees that your case is suitable for the diversion program, you shall be asked to sign a “Diversion Agreement,” which is mainly a contract between you and the prosecutor. 

However the terms of this contract may vary, but you would be required to pay a fee, report towards a probation officer and pay a probation supervision charge for a few months, probably may be required to execute a number of hours of community service, or may need to attend a class (alcohol and drug evaluation for Possession cases, Anger Management for battery matter) as well as other conditions, for example, staying away from a certain place or individual, or abstaining from drug and alcohol usage and submitting to random screens.

Negotiation Strategy

Pretrial diversion programs should usually be formally requested during the pretrial stages of a criminal matter. They are not granted automatically and should be applied for through a request.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the Diversion Agreement

For the wrongdoer, the main aim of diversion is rehabilitation. A diversion program furnishes the offenders with needed services that could address the underlying causes of criminal behavior, for example, alcohol and drug abuse. It is expected that diversion shall allow wrongdoers to establish a normal life, without the burden of a criminal record. Diversion might also be less expensive for the offender. It is also less costly than additional criminal justice processing. The most apparent benefit of diversion programs is that they avoid the expenditure and severity of the full operation of the criminal law.

Diversion programs are critiqued as being excessively lenient since they allow wrongdoers to be sanctioned unconventionally. Some might feel that if a wrongdoer is not jailed, then the punishment is not severe enough, and justice was not served. Moreover, diversion appears to consider the requirements of the wrongdoer over those of the victims. 

Diversion is also condemned as not all programs are successful. In many cases, programs are poorly designed or applied. In other matters, the wrongdoer fails to abide by the necessities of diversion or is involved in behavior that is not desired and correct. In a few of these cases, diversion could be more costly than normal processing, for the reason that wrongdoers later have to be reprocessed as well as possibly imprisoned.

What Happens in Case of Violation?

In case the defendant does not complete diversion or is discharged from the program for failure to obey its terms (or for following criminal conduct), the case returns to the court. If the defendant formerly entered a guilty or no-contest appeal(1), then the judge could impose a sentence. In case the defendant failed, and the form of diversion did not require the defendant to enter such a petition previously, then the defendant has to enter one, and the case shall proceed accordingly.

A diversion program is a type of punishment in which the criminal wrongdoer would join a rehabilitation program, which shall help the wrongdoer in remedying his actions leading towards the original detention, and would allow the wrongdoer to avoid conviction and, in few jurisdictions, hide a criminal record. The programs are run by a court, or a police department, a district attorney’s office, or any outside agency.