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How does pretrial diversion work?

People who are facing certain criminal charges might be able to get the case resolved prior to going to trial. Pretrial diversion is one option that’s available in some circumstances. It involves the prosecution pausing the criminal charges so the defendant can have time to meet requirements.

A pretrial diversion program doesn’t require the defendant to plead guilty to the charges. If the person meets the program’s requirements, the prosecutor won’t press charges. If the person doesn’t meet those requirements, the criminal case is reinstated and begins to move forward through the court system.

What requirements might be part of the program?

Statutes will set the requirements for what has to be done for the case to be dropped. In most cases, this will include a term on probation, community service and counseling. If the case was related to drugs, periodic drug testing and rehabilitation might also be required.

The length of the diversion program will vary due to the type of crime that’s at the center of the case, as well as what has to be done. As a general guideline, misdemeanor programs last anywhere from six months to one year. For a felony charge, it will probably last about twice as long.

Throughout the diversion program term, the defendant must ensure they’re staying on track for completing the terms. A probation officer will likely overseeing the progress.

If you’re facing criminal charges for things like drunk driving or drugs, you should find out about your options for handling the matter. Having experienced legal guidance can help you to decide if the pretrial diversion program is best for your needs.