PRETRIAL DIVERSION in FLORIDA
A first time offender is defined as a person who has never been convicted of a legal offense before. Diversion Programs are designed to help first time offenders avoid jail time and a criminal record and to keep the case out of criminal court. They are ran by the State Attorney’s office. Eligibility for the program is determined on a case by case basis and is left up to the sole discretion of the State Attorney.
In order to be deemed eligible for a diversion program the defendant must not have participated in a first time offenders program before, and must never have been convicted of violating state or federal law.
The terms of a pre-trial diversion program differ based on the charges. Programs can last anywhere from 6-18 months, or longer in some circumstances. If an offender is arrested for another crime while under a pre-trial diversion program agreement, they will no longer be eligible and their case will be remanded back to criminal court. Most require community service hours, payment of restitution, monthly meetings with a probation officer assigned to the case, and any other required stipulations of the program. Usually there is some sort of counseling involved depending on the crime. For example, drug offenders may have to complete drug and/or alcohol counseling.
Under most circumstances, if the offender completes the program successfully, they are eligible to have their record sealed or expunged. Please contact Candamo Law today to discuss your case and eligibility for a diversion program.
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