Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney: What is Pre-Trial Diversion in Texas?
As a criminal defense attorney in Atascosa County, Texas, I have seen countless individuals accused of crimes, some of whom are eligible for pre-trial diversion. Pre-trial diversion is an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a program that allows defendants to avoid conviction by completing certain requirements before trial. In this blog post, I will discuss what pre-trial diversion is, how it works, and the differences between pre-trial diversion, probation, and deferred adjudication in Texas.
What is Pre-Trial Diversion in Texas?
Pre-trial diversion is a program offered to defendants who are facing criminal charges. The program aims to divert defendants away from the traditional criminal justice system and instead offer them a chance to avoid a criminal record. Pre-trial diversion is typically available for non-violent offenses, such as drug possession, property crimes, and certain misdemeanors.
When a defendant is offered pre-trial diversion, they are required to complete certain conditions, such as community service, counseling, and drug testing, among other things. If the defendant successfully completes these requirements, the charges against them will be dismissed.
The Rise of Diversionary Programs in the United States
Pre-trial diversion programs have become increasingly popular in the United States over the past few decades. The reason for this is that traditional criminal prosecution can be very expensive, time-consuming, and often leads to recidivism. Diversionary programs, such as pre-trial diversion, offer a more cost-effective and efficient way of dealing with certain types of offenders.
Moreover, diversionary programs recognize that many offenders have underlying issues that contributed to their criminal behavior, such as addiction, mental health issues, or poverty. These programs aim to address those issues and provide the offender with the support and resources they need to avoid future criminal behavior.
Qualifications and Exclusions for Pre-Trial Diversion
The qualifications and exclusions for pre-trial diversion can vary depending on the county and the prosecutor's discretion. However, there are some general requirements that are common to most diversion programs.
To qualify for pre-trial diversion, the defendant must typically have a clean criminal record or only have minor offenses on their record. Additionally, the defendant must be willing to take responsibility for their actions and agree to complete the requirements of the program.
Exclusions from pre-trial diversion typically include violent offenses, offenses involving a weapon, and offenses that result in serious injury or death. The prosecutor ultimately decides whether a defendant is eligible for pre-trial diversion.
Requirements of Pre-Trial Diversion
The requirements of pre-trial diversion can vary depending on the prosecutor and the specific case. However, common requirements include the payments of a fee, community service, drug testing, counseling, and restitution. Additionally, the defendant may be required to attend classes or workshops that address the issues that contributed to their criminal behavior, such as anger management or drug addiction.
Differences Between Pre-Trial Diversion and Probation or Deferred Adjudication in Texas
Pre-trial diversion, probation, and deferred adjudication are all alternatives to traditional criminal prosecution in Texas. However, they differ in several important ways.
Probation is a period of supervision that a defendant is placed under after being convicted of a crime. Probation typically lasts between one and ten years, and the defendant must comply with certain conditions during that time. If the defendant violates the conditions of their probation, they can be sent to jail or prison, depending if the crime is a misdemeanor or felony. This type of probation results in a conviction.
Deferred adjudication is similar to probation in that the defendant is placed under supervision for a certain period of time. However, deferred adjudication is only available for certain types of offenses, and the defendant must plead guilty or no contest to the charges. If the defendant successfully completes the requirements of deferred adjudication, the charges against them will be dismissed. In some cases, the defendant can apply for a non-disclosure upon completion, preventing everyone but certain government agencies from knowing about the arrest.
Pre-trial diversion, on the other hand, is offered before a defendant goes to trial and generally doesn't have to be approved by the court. If the defendant completes the requirements of pre-trial diversion, the charges against them are dismissed, and they do not have a criminal record. If the defendant successfully completes pre-trial diversion, they can truthfully say that they have not been convicted of a crime. Generally, under certain circumstances, the defendant can apply for an expunction that requires all records of the arrest to be destroyed and completely remove the arrest from the person's record.
Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney
Pre-trial diversion is a valuable alternative to traditional criminal prosecution that allows defendants to avoid a criminal record by completing certain requirements before trial. If you are facing criminal charges in Atascosa County, Texas, and think you may be eligible for pre-trial diversion, contact Thornton Criminal Defense today. We offer free consultations and have a track record of success in helping our clients avoid convictions and get their lives back on track. Call us at 210-439-5627 to schedule your consultation.