If you are facing criminal charges in North Carolina, you may be eligible for a criminal diversion program. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and determine whether diversion is right for you.
What Is a Criminal Diversion Program?
A criminal diversion program is an alternative to traditional sentencing procedures. If you are eligible and complete the requirements of a diversion program, your charges will be dismissed. This means you will not have a criminal record.
Criminal diversion programs vary by jurisdiction, but they typically involve some combination of the following conditions set by the court.
You must admit that you committed the crime you are charged with. This is typically done by signing a form admitting that you are guilty of the offense. If you do not sign the form, you will not be eligible for diversion.
After you admit guilt, you will be required to complete various conditions set by the court. The specific requirements will depend on the crime you are charged with and your personal history.
Submitting to Random Drug Tests
You may be required to submit to random drug tests throughout the duration of your diversion program. These tests help ensure that you are not using drugs while participating in the program.
If you fail a random drug test, you may be subject to additional conditions set by the court, such as attending drug counseling or treatment programs. Unfortunately, failing a drug test means that you may end up losing your eligibility for diversion and be remanded into custody.
Meeting With a Case Manager
A case manager is a professional who will help you understand the requirements of your diversion program and ensure that you are completing them. You will likely be required to meet with your case manager on a regular basis, typically monthly.
In meetings, the case manager will review your progress and help you develop a plan to complete the requirements of the program. The case manager may also provide referrals to social service agencies or other resources.
Community service is a common requirement of criminal diversion programs. You will be required to complete a certain number of hours of community service, which can include things like volunteering at local nonprofits or cleaning up public areas.
The number of hours you are required to complete will depend on the crime you are charged with and your personal history. However, typically programs require 225 hours of community service.
Paying Restitution & Court Fees
You will likely be required to pay restitution to any victims of your crime as part of your criminal diversion program. This may include things like property damage or medical bills. You may also be required to pay court fees and other costs associated with your case.
The amount you are required to pay will depend on the specifics of your case. However, you may be able to set up a payment plan with the court to make restitution more affordable.
Staying in School or Work
You may be required to stay enrolled in school or maintain employment while participating in the program. This requirement helps ensure that you are not engaging in criminal activity and that you are working towards a productive future.
If you lose your job, you will likely be required to participate in job training or look for new employment. If you are not enrolled in school, you may be required to enroll in an adult education program.
Completing Rehabilitation or Treatment Programs
You may be required to participate in rehabilitation or treatment programs as part of your criminal diversion program. This may include things like drug counseling, anger management, or mental health treatment.
The specific programs you are required to participate in will depend on the crime you are charged with and your personal history. However, they are typically designed to help you address the underlying issues that led to your criminal activity.
Avoiding Further Criminal Charges
While participating in the criminal diversion program, you will be expected to avoid any new criminal charges. If you are arrested for another crime, you may be removed from the diversion program and required to stand trial for the original offense.
In some cases, you may be able to participate in a second chance program or enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors. However, if you are convicted of another crime, you will likely face more serious penalties, such as a long prison sentence.
Benefits of a Criminal Diversion Program
Criminal diversion programs can be a powerful tool for defendants. They allow you to avoid a criminal conviction and the associated penalties, such as jail time, having a criminal record, or a loss of your driver’s license. Additionally, participation in a diversion program can give you the opportunity to get your life back on track. The requirements of the program, such as treatment or community service, can help you address the underlying issues that led to your criminal activity.
Criminal diversion programs can be an effective alternative to prison time. They allow you to stay in the community and maintain your job, school enrollment, and other important aspects of your life. Additionally, they provide you with the opportunity to get treatment for any underlying issues and make restitution to any victims.
If you are facing criminal charges, you should talk to an experienced attorney about your options. An attorney can help you understand the specific requirements, the benefits, and the risks of the criminal diversion program in North Carolina and whether you are eligible to participate. Additionally, an attorney can help guide you through the process and even negotiate with prosecutors to build a strong defense against the charges you are facing.
Different Types of Criminal Diversion Programs in North Carolina
There are several different types of criminal diversion programs in North Carolina. The type of program you are eligible for will depend on the specific facts of your case, your criminal history, and the severity of the crime you are charged with.
Conditional Discharge 90/96 Program
The conditional discharge 90/96 program is available to first-time offenders who are charged with nonviolent drug offenses, such as possession of a small amount of illegal substances or paraphernalia. To be eligible, you must not have any prior felony or drug convictions and the offense must not be punishable by more than two years in prison.
If you are accepted into the program, you will be placed on probation for a period of up to one year. During that time, you will be required to complete drug treatment and submit to regular drug testing. You will also be required to perform community service and pay any necessary fines and restitution. If you successfully complete the program, your charges will be dismissed.
First Offender Drug Felony Diversion Program
The first offender drug felony diversion program is available to defendants who are facing their first felony drug charge. To be eligible, you must not have any prior convictions and the offense must not be punishable by more than eight years in prison.
If you are accepted into the program, you will be placed on probation for a period of one year. During that time, you will be required to complete drug treatment and submit to regular drug testing. You will also be required to perform 225 hours of community service and pay any necessary fines and restitution. If you successfully complete the program, your charges will be dismissed.
Informal First Offender Programs
This criminal diversion program is for low-level offenses such as shoplifting, trespassing, and minors in possession of alcohol. You must not have any prior convictions and the offense must not be punishable by more than 120 days in jail.
The requirements of this program vary on a case-by-case basis. Your attorney will negotiate with the District Attorney to determine the specific requirements, which may include drug treatment, community service, and fines. If you successfully complete the program, your charges will be dismissed.
This program is for first-time offenders who are between the ages of 13 and 17. The offense must not be serious and cannot be punishable by more than 45 days in jail. The requirements will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Drug and Alcohol Education Programs
If the offense you are charged with is alcohol-related, such as underage drinking, you may be eligible for a drug and alcohol education program. These programs are typically 12 weeks long and include classes on the dangers of alcohol abuse.
The requirements typically include 15 hours of rehabilitation classes, random drug screening, paying court fees, attending school or work, and staying out of trouble. If you complete the program, your charges will be dismissed.
What to Expect if You Are Accepted Into a Criminal Diversion Program
If you are accepted into a criminal diversion program, you will be required to attend all court dates and follow the specific requirements of the program. If you fail to do so, you may be removed from the program and face the original charges.
If you successfully complete the program, your charges will be dismissed and you will not have a criminal record. It is important to note that even though your charges will be dismissed, you may still face immigration consequences if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Hire an Attorney to Help with Criminal Diversion Programs in North Carolina
If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options. An attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for a diversion program and guide you through the process.
At King Law, we offer our services throughout North Carolina and parts of Northern South Carolina. Our team of experienced lawyers will work tirelessly to get you the best results possible. Call us today at (888) 748-5464 (KING) or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.