Being arrested and accused of a crime does not necessarily mean you will have a criminal conviction on your record. One way to avoid having a criminal conviction is to beat your case at trial. Another way to avoid having a criminal conviction on you record is to enter into a pretrial diversion program that may be offered through the local District Attorney’s Office. However, getting into one of these programs is not automatic. Different parishes have different rules about who gets accepted and the program conditions vary from parish to parish.
The pretrial diversion program is also known as pretrial intervention or DA probation. This program allows first-time offenders of non-violent charges to get their charges dismissed and avoid serving jail or prison time in exchange for either:
The ultimate goal of the pretrial diversion program is to keep first-time non-violent offenders out of the criminal justice system by diverting them to get the rehabilitation treatment they need to prevent them from committing future criminal charges.
However, the specific conditions that a defendant must meet to gain eligibility for the pretrial diversion program are as follows:
The defendant has no absolute right to get offered or be admitted to the pretrial diversion program even if they are eligible. Instead, it is solely up to the prosecutor’s office to provide a defendant an opportunity to participate in the program.
The prosecutor evaluates each case individually and assesses numerous factors to determine whether they could extend an offer to the defendant to be admitted to the pretrial diversion program. Some of the factors that the prosecutor may use to evaluate the defendant may include but are not limited to the nature of the crime, any mitigating factors, any prior offenses or criminal history, and the surrounding facts of the case.
Since a defendant could not automatically be offered to participate in the pretrial diversion program, it is valuable to have a reputable and highly experienced criminal attorney to appeal the defendant’s interest to the prosecutor.
Generally, the length of the program lasts between six months to a year. However, the total length of the pretrial diversion program highly depends on the nature of the crime charged to the defendant.
Yes, there are costs associated with participating in the pretrial diversion program, and the defendant must bear these costs. However, if the defendant could prove that they are indigent, then the prosecutor would modify the charges associated with the pretrial diversion program.
The general costs charged to the defendant to enter the pretrial diversion program are as follows:
Participating in the pretrial diversion program provides a valuable opportunity for a defendant. However, having the chance to be admitted to this program may be difficult since it is strictly up to the prosecutor of the case. Thus, availing of the legal guidance and representation by a reputable criminal lawyer may provide valuable assistance to your cause as they can negotiate with the prosecutor and present reasons that you may be a good candidate for the program.
If you or your loved one has been accused of a charge, and would like to know about the chances of getting into a pretrial diversion program, please call (225) 963-9638, or you can click here to contact us for a free consultation. Our highly experienced criminal lawyers can help you assess your case and represent your interests.