Adult diversion programs can be a saving grace for the accused, helping them to avoid jail time and dismiss charges, but these programs come with their own limitations and eligibility requirements.
What is an Adult Diversion Program?
An adult diversion program is a voluntary alternative to criminal adjudication. These programs allow the accused to fulfill a set of conditions, or complete a formal program designed to address issues related to or raised by the offense. The program goal is to give defendants a chance to rectify and correct their criminal behavior, reducing the likelihood of repeat offenders.
Who is eligible for a diversion program?
Most commonly, first offenders who are accused of a low-level offense, are offered adult diversion. The district attorney has a great deal of authority in deciding who is eligible, and they consider the following:
- Nature of the crime charged and surrounding circumstances
- Special characteristics or circumstances of the defendant
- Whether diversion is consistent with the defendant’s rehabilitation and reintegration
- Whether the public interest will be best served by diverting the individual from prosecution
In order to weigh these factors, it is likely the prosecutor will require the defendant to disclose the following:
- Prior criminal charges
- Work experience
- Community ties
- Any other information that would relate to a diversion program
If the alleged offense involves sexual assault to an adult or child, a sexual offense committed against an at-risk person, or with a deadly weapon, the enticement of a child, sexual exploitation, or procurement of a child for such or any child prostitution offense, then the accused is not eligible for a diversion program. Further, each jurisdiction may impose its own restrictions on eligibility.
When is a diversion program offered to a defendant?
These programs are intended to operate with a great deal of flexibility. The district attorney can offer the program to a defendant at any point before a plea, trial or before charges are filed. The district attorney typically reserves their right to reinitiate prosecution if the diversion program is not successfully completed.
Who can enforce a diversion program?
A diversion agreement may be reached with the district attorney or filed with a court. If such an agreement is not filed with the court, the district attorney’s office, law enforcement agencies and pretrial service organizations have the authority to enforce and ensure compliance with the program. If the agreement is filed with the court, the probation department also has the authority to supervise the completion and compliance with the program.
If the program is successfully completed, then the defendant will be treated as if the offense never happened. If charges are filed, they will be dismissed. If charges have not been filed, they will remain that way.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
For more information about whether you may qualify for an adult diversion program after being charged with a criminal offense in Colorado, contact our experienced team of skilled criminal defense attorneys at The Moorhead Law Group today at 303-447-1400.