Everyday, good people find themselves facing first time charge for retail fraud, shoplifting, possession of marijuana and other controlled substances, domestic violence and other misdemeanors. Many of the people facing the aforementioned charges are nonviolent individuals who fell into committing these crimes and do not belong in jail or prison.
Facing trouble with the law, especially if this is your first offense, is intimidating and scary, which is why you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your options. Most jurisdictions in Michigan offer first time offenders diversion programs (of one type or another), but the terms vary from county to county.
What is a pretrial diversion?
Many who stand accused of a crime have not heard of this option often times because it is not readily offered to you or someone may have incorrectly determined you are not eligible. You have to know about it and ask for it. Many are ignorant that such an alternative even exists.
A contract between the prosecutor and the accused
When you are charged with a crime, you typically enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. A pretrial diversion gives you a chance to resolve the case with few consequences and the chance to not have a criminal record when the case is concluded. A pretrial diversion is essentially a contract between the prosecutor and the accused, in which the accused agrees to undergo a rehabilitation program appropriate for the offense to avoid jail or prison. For example, individuals facing battery charges may be required to complete a domestic violence program or anger management counseling. An individual facing a theft charge may be required to complete an impulse control course. A common pretrial diversion program is a drug or alcohol rehabilitation course for those accused of drug possession. Community service is a common requirement of most programs. Some of the programs run as long as a year and a half but many are quite shorter in length, lasting a year or less.
For those who complete the terms of the program, the prosecutor will completely dismiss the charges. Quite simply, a pretrial diversion gives you a second chance and allows you to undo a bad decision in your past.
Who qualifies for a pretrial diversion? Most of the participants have completed either a non-violent crime or low level felony and have little or no prior record. Unfortunately, many accused individuals are unaware that the pretrial diversion option exists. For this reason, it is advisable to enlist the services of attorneys who are well versed in criminal law and who can help you avoid jail time or prison. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is a top, experienced Michigan firm that has defended countless individuals accused of all types of crimes, helping them navigate the ins and outs of a pretrial diversion option to avoid jail time. Contact us today at 248-263-6800 for a free consultation.