Those charged with criminal offenses may feel a sense of fear and dread about what is to come. The thoughts of jail, prison and probation are common worries among those who are being exposed to the criminal justice system for the first time. As criminal justice policies have become more progressive and as the public has rebelled against the practice of issuing lengthy prison or jail sentences to nonviolent offenders, more positive options have arisen for criminal defendants. If you are charged with a crime and are unsure of or afraid of the penalties you might be facing, you should retain a skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorney right away to explain all of your options.
This trend toward more progressive criminal justice has resulted in the creation of several pretrial diversion programs available for certain criminal defendants. If you qualify for a diversion program, the successful entry and completion of the program can result in severe reduction and even outright dismissal of your criminal case. It is important to understand whether or not you qualify for one of these programs and, if you do, whether or not entering a diversion program is right for you.Pre Trial Intervention
Pre-trial intervention is a program available in many of the counties. It is a program that is primarily offered to first-time nonviolent offenders. Most nonviolent misdemeanor and felony offenses will qualify for a pre-trail intervention program. Entering the program typically involves filling out a short application and submitting it to the prosecuting authority. Once you have been admitted to the program, you will be placed on a period of probation and required to complete certain requirements to successfully finish the diversion program.
Upon completion of a pre-trial intervention program, the prosecution will typically agree to nolle pros your case. A nolle pros is a legal term meaning the prosecutor is voluntarily dropping the charges against you. Achieving a nolle pros is an excellent result and often the expenses and time that goes into the program is worth the final result.Drug Court
Public perception has continued to turn against the harsh prosecution of drug offenses. As prosecuting authorities have seen this shift in public perception, drug diversion programs have begun to arise around the country. Pinellas county has a robust drug court program that exists to divert those charged with non-violent drug offenses.
Pinellas county’s drug court is an 18 to 24 month voluntary program. Entry into the program and successful completion of the program can result in dismissal of your case. Drug court typically involves several appearances before a designated drug court judge and requirement of regular treatment for drug addiction. Many entrants into the drug court program find that it aids them greatly in their life, and not only in their criminal case.Veterans Treatment Court
One of the most robust diversion programs is handled through the veteran’s treatment court. Veteran’s court is available to certain defendants who are either active duty military members or veterans of one of the United States Military branches. Veteran’s are provided treatment for physical and mental health issues stemming from their military service and attend court hearings before a designated Veteran’s Treatment Court Judge. Successful completion of the Veteran’s court program will result in complete dismissal of your case if you qualify. If you think you qualify for any of these programs, you should contact a dedicated Clearwater criminal defense lawyer who can guide you through the process that is best for you.Retain a Skilled Defense Lawyer Today
The programs listed above are just a few of the diversion programs available for criminal defendants. Diversion programs are a great tool for achieving positive results on criminal cases and serve to divert those who need help away from the criminal justice system and toward the treatment and diversion that they need. If you have been charged with a criminal offense and want to understand your options, contact the attorneys at Hanlon Law today at 727.897.5413.