Programs Designed To Help You Avoid Conviction
The Florida legal system understands that nobody is perfect and mistakes happen; indeed, they understand that good people make bad choices that can lead to conflicts with the law. Fortunately, our state legal system recognizes this, and offers certain offenders another chance. The Florida court system has various programs in place that allow offenders – who have not previously been in trouble with the law – to circumnavigate the criminal system. The two main systems in place are known as pre-trial intervention and pre-trial diversion. Pre-trial intervention is for non-violent third-degree felonies and less, while pre-trial diversion is a program for those charged with misdemeanors. In the event that you have been charged with a more serious crime, it is likely that you will not be eligible for either of these programs.
These programs are generally referred to as diversion programs, and in order to best increase your chances of being accepted into one of these programs, it is wise to hire a criminal defense attorney. To be accepted into either diversion program, all parties involved in the case must agree to allow the offender into the program. From there, the prosecutor will run background checks on those involved in the incident. In most cases, it is up to the prosecutor to refer the offender to the program; thus, it is important to have your attorney negotiate with the state prosecutor in hopes of getting you into the diversion program.
There are certain cases where an offender is charged with a misdemeanor, and it is blatantly apparent that the individual is eligible for diversion. If this is the case, you may not even need an attorney, however, there are other instances where your attorney will play a pivotal role in fighting to achieve admission into a diversion program. Normally you will need to be arraigned and then your case will be delegated to the diversionary office relevant to your case.
The programs normally last between three and six months and you will be assigned an officer who you will need to report to on a predetermined basis. You will also need to pay fees related to the program and meet certain conditions in order to successfully complete the program. Most programs are made up of community service completion requirements, educational courses, and potential activity restrictions. It is likely that you will also be periodically drug tested during the term of the program.
With more serious offenses, the state may require that you plead no contest to the offense you have been charged with. This is a precautionary measure in the event that you do not complete the diversion program that you begin. In the event that the offender does not enter a plea prior to diversion and they fail to complete the program then their case will start over from the beginning.
In Florida, most violent felony offenses will preclude you from being eligible to participate in a diversion program. Depending on the county, you may or may not be allowed to enter a diversion program for a first offense DUI. Additionally, certain drug crimes may also be eligible for diversion, in particular crimes associated with marijuana.
Let Us Assist You with Your Case
If you have been accused of a crime and wish to participate in diversion, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will be able to work with the prosecutor to potentially enter you into a program. This process is far more difficult without the assistance of an experienced attorney. If you need help, contact the Baez Law Firm at 800-588-BAEZ for a free consultation.