Can I Get a Pretrial Diversion?
Getting arrested and facing a criminal charge in Texas is overwhelming and terrifying, particularly if you’re a first-time offender. A criminal conviction can lead to prison or jail time, hefty fines, and other penalties that can destroy your personal life and professional life.
Fortunately, the courts recognize that most individuals going through the criminal justice system for the first time aren’t seasoned criminals and will not become repeat offenders. In this light, the criminal justice system offers opportunities for first-time offenders to be diverted from the regular process of conviction, sentencing, and incarceration into various alternatives to prosecution, such as the pretrial diversion program.
What is a Pretrial Diversion Program?
The main goal of a pretrial diversion program is to help prevent crime and increase public safety by holding eligible offenders accountable for their actions while providing the skills, education, and resources required to prevent recidivism. This alternative prosecution program offers offenders the opportunity to avoid a conviction and related sanctions, which include costly fines, incarceration, and community supervision, once they successfully complete the program.
However, the pretrial diversion program only accepts specific types of crimes, and all referrals must be assessed before offenders are accepted. Common conditions of the program include relevant educational courses, community service, counseling, routine drug testing, avoiding any criminal activity, and meetings with the probation officer. Offenders who complete the program will also be eligible for criminal record expunction.
On the other hand, offenders who are accepted into the program can be discharged from it and removed at any time if they fail to follow the program’s terms and conditions.
Am I Eligible for a Pretrial Diversion?
For you to become eligible for the pretrial diversion program, you must be a true first-time offender, which means that you can’t have had a previous deferred adjudication or pretrial diversion. You also should have no previous adult felony or violent misdemeanor convictions. The district attorney (DA) will likewise review and consider your arrest history and the final disposition and can approve exceptions as they deem fit.
Once the DA has evaluated and approved your application, you must sign a PTD agreement that will detail all the conditions for your acceptance into the program. This will effectively remove your case from the court’s docket.
Normally, the following low-level felony and non-violent misdemeanors are considered for pretrial diversion:
- Evading arrests
- Criminal trespass
- Criminal mischief
- Marijuana possession
- Drug possession
- Some Assault Family violence cases
On the other hand, the pretrial diversion program doesn’t accept cases involving violent crimes, driving while intoxicated (DWI), sex crimes, among others.
Speak to a Skilled Denton Criminal Defense Attorney Now
If you are facing a criminal charge in Denton, TX, as a first-time non-violent offender, reach out to the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC, today. You can discuss your case with our Denton criminal defense attorney and find out more about pretrial diversion and whether you’re eligible for it. Request your free consultation with our Denton criminal defense attorney by calling 940-222-2488 or contacting us online.