The Benefits of Accepting and Saving the Pre-trial Diversion


The Benefits of Accepting and Saving the Pre-trial Diversion

November 15, 2014

Van Nuys criminal defense lawyerPersons in California charged with certain low level crimes may qualify for a diversion program.  A diversion program allows the offender to complete some type of education or service, and upon completion the court will throw out the charges and deem that the initial arrest never occurred.  Diversion is a great opportunity for many first time offenders to keep their criminal records clean.  If you have been charged with a crime, a Van Nuys criminal defense lawyer can work with the prosecution to place you in a diversion program and avoid a criminal conviction.

What Diversion Programs Entail

Diversion programs are commonly used for first-time offenders charged with minor theft and drug possession, although they are available for a wide variety of offenses.  The defendant agrees to perform education courses, undergo drug testing, perform community service, receive counseling, or some combination of those. Additionally, former Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal successfully sponsored a bill which goes into effect on January 1, 2015.  This allows judges in Los Angeles County to order a defendant in a misdemeanor case to diversion over the objection of the prosecutor. This program excludes misdemeanors such as DUI (driving under the influence), domestic violence and sex offenses.  Defendants who have prior felony convictions are also excluded. Diversion programs help the defendant understand the consequences of their actions and learn the necessary skills to avoid any future violations.  If you are a first-time offender, or have completed a prior diversion program, contact a Van Nuys criminal defense attorney to evaluate your case and to see if a diversion program would be appropriate.

How Diversion Affects a Criminal Record

A criminal record can be a huge barrier to finding employment.  Many employers check criminal records before hiring applicants; understandably, they can be hesitant to hire someone with a conviction.  A diversion program will keep one’s record clean, as well as remove the arrest from one’s record so long as the program was fully completed. A Van Nuys criminal defense lawyer who knows the court system and the diversion laws can place your case in a diversion program to keep your criminal record clean.

Note that if a person completes a diversion program, and later applies to become a peace officer, the arrest and diversion program completion must by law be disclosed.  Also, immigration court does not recognize diversion programs, and will see the immigrant’s arrest record even if there was a successful diversion program completion. For more information regarding diversion programs, contact El bufete de abogados Mattern by calling 888-420-8932.

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