In Georgia, many first-time offenders qualify for a diversion program instead of facing jail time.
Being charged with a crime can be scary, especially if you have never had any interactions with law enforcement before. You will likely have many questions about what penalties you will face, and what your future holds. For many first-time offenders, it is a relief to know that they may qualify for a pretrial diversion program. These programs can help ensure that you do not face jail time and that you do not have a permanent criminal record. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, do not plead guilty until you have spoken to an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer about a possible diversion program.
What is a Diversion Program?
TheCode of Georgia, Section 15-18-80 provides the option of pretrial diversion programs for certain offenders. These programs are meant to help rehabilitate offenders and keep them from rescinding and committing another crime in the future. When someone is placed into a diversion program, they are typically required to attend counseling sessions or classes that can help reform them instead of punishing them.
After a person has successfully completed a diversion program, a judge will sign an order dismissing the case. This means that the individual will not have a criminal record.
Qualifying for a Diversion Program
In many cases, first-time offenders can qualify for a diversion program if they have not been arrested or convicted of afelony or misdemeanor in the past. In some cases, a person may qualify for a diversion program if they have been arrested, but not convicted of a crime. Typically, past convictions of minor traffic offenses are not taken into consideration when determining if someone qualifies for a diversion program.
Many courts will not allow people to apply for a diversion program if they are not represented by an attorney, which is why speaking to a lawyer after being charged with an offense is so important. Individuals who wish to apply must fill out an application package and submit it to the prosecutor. The prosecuting attorney will then review the package and determine if the individual qualifies for the program. When making their decision, the prosecution will consider the nature of the crime, the criminal history of the person making the request, and the victim’s response.
When the prosecution decides to allow a person to enter into a diversion program, that individual will then meet with a diversion coordinator. The coordinator will monitor the person as he or she moves through the program to ensure the offender is in compliance with all of the program’s requirements.
Call Our Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers to Discuss Diversion Programs
Different counties have different standards for diversion programs, so it is so important to speak to anAtlanta criminal defense lawyer that understands the county’s requirements. At Ghanayem & Rayasam, we will review your case and determine if you are eligible to enter one of these programs. We will also help you complete the application package to give you the best chance of avoiding jail time and a permanent record. If you are facing charges, call us today at (404) 561-0202 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.