Pretrial diversion programs divert criminal cases before trial. If a person is given the chance to participate in a pretrial diversion program, the criminal charges they are facing may end up being dismissed upon successful completion of the program.
Pretrial programs are usually offered to alleged offenders facing criminal charges for the first time, but some people may be eligible in other certain circumstances. It is often a district attorney overseeing the criminal case who has the ability to allow an alleged offender to participate in a pretrial diversion program.
Pretrial Diversion Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX
If you or your loved one were arrested for a criminal offense contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged criminal offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas. We assist clients all over Denton County with approval for pretrial diversion programs.
Pretrial Diversion Programs in Denton County
Texas Government Code § 76.011 provides that a community supervision and corrections department can operate programs for:
- the supervision and rehabilitation of persons in pretrial intervention programs
- the supervision of persons released on bail under Chapter 11, Code of Criminal Procedure; Chapter 17, Code of Criminal Procedure; Article 44.04, Code of Criminal Procedure; or any other law
- the supervision of a person subject to, or the verification of compliance with, a court order issued under Article 17.441, Code of Criminal Procedure, requiring a person to install a deep-lung breath analysis mechanism on each vehicle owned or operated by the person; Chapter 123 of the Texas Government Code or former law, issuing an occupational driver’s license; Section 49.09(h), Penal Code, requiring a person to install a deep-lung breath analysis mechanism on each vehicle owned or operated by the person; or Subchapter L, Chapter 521, Transportation Code, granting a person an occupational driver’s license
- the supervision of a person not otherwise described by Texas Government Code § 76.011(1), (2), or (3), if a court orders the person to submit to the supervision of, or to receive services from, the department.
The statute further notes that programs operated by the department can include reasonable conditions related to the purpose of the program, including testing for controlled substances. A person in a pretrial intervention program operated by the department can be supervised for a period not to exceed two years.
The Denton County program in which a person could be eligible to have their criminal charges dismissed through completion of a program is called pretrial diversion (often abbreviated as simply PTD). It is a probation-like diversionary program offered by the Denton County District Attorneys’ Office for certain individuals in certain cases.
To be eligible, a person cannot have a criminal history of any kind, although many Class C misdemeanor offenses and juvenile matters will not count towards a person’s eligibility. An alleged offender also must never have participated in a diversion-type program in any county before.
Additionally, alleged offenses need to be lower-level offenses. In other words, felonies and other more serious misdemeanor charges will not be considered for the pretrial diversion program.
The most important advantage to being submitted for, accepted, and completing the Denton County pretrial diversion program is that by completing the program, a criminal charge will be officially dismissed by the District Attorney. This allows a person to then file for an expunction and have all of the records relating to the arrest and charge permanently destroyed.
Common kinds of charges for which a person’s attorney could petition the court for consideration in the program include:
- Possession of Marijuana
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Evading Arrest
- Reckless Driving
Examples of charges not typically considered for PTD include:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Weapons charges
- Delivery of Substance charges
- Most Felonies
Pretrial diversion programs also exist for federal offenses. The United States Department of Justice notes that pretrial diversion is an alternative to prosecution that seeks to divert certain alleged offenders from the traditional processing of criminal justice cases into programs of supervision and services that will be administered by the U.S. Probation Service.
In most cases, alleged offenders will be diverted at the pre-charge stage. Participants who successfully complete the program are not charged or, if charged, can have the charges against them dismissed, but unsuccessful participants will be returned for prosecution.
The major objectives of pretrial diversion are:
- To provide a vehicle for restitution to communities and victims of crime when appropriate
- To preserve prosecutive and judicial resources so they can concentrate on major cases
- To prevent alleged offenders from engaging in future criminal activity by diverting them from the traditional processing into community supervision and services
- A period of supervision cannot exceed 18 months but can be reduced
The United States Attorney, in their discretion, can divert any person against whom a prosecutable case exists and who is not:
- Accused of a criminal offense which, under existing Department guidelines, should be diverted to the State for prosecution
- An alleged offender with two or more prior felony convictions
- A public official or former public official accused of a crime arising out of an alleged violation of a public trust
- Accused of a criminal offense related to national security or foreign affairs
Pretrial Diversion Program Requirements
It is usually the community supervision department that is responsible for overseeing participants in pretrial diversion programs. Conditions of pretrial diversion may include, but are not limited to:
- The alleged offender must be a non-violent offender
- The alleged offender must be referred by a licensed Texas attorney and be accepted to the program by the District Attorney’s office
- The alleged offender must be employed full-time or enrolled in an accredited school
- The alleged offender charged must sign a contract with the district attorney admitting to guilt for the criminal offense and accepting responsibility
- The alleged offender must be first-time offender with no prior arrests
- The alleged offender must report monthly to a probation officer
- The alleged offender cannot commit any new criminal offenses
- The alleged offender must abstain from the use of illegal drugs and alcohol
- The alleged offender must complete a counseling program
- The alleged offender must pay restitution to the alleged victim
- The alleged offender must perform community service
Additional services can include:
- Personal and group counseling sessions
- Drug and alcohol abuse education and treatment
- Referral to local community service organizations
An alleged offender will have to submit an initial application to be considered for a pretrial diversion program and an essay may also be required in certain cases. An interview by the probation officer is another common requirement.
Specific conditions imposed have to be complied with because any single violation could be extremely detrimental. A violation may lead to a prosecutor proceeding with the original criminal case and subjecting the alleged offender to the underlying penalties for the alleged offense they were originally accused of.
Failure to complete a pretrial diversion program can also be used against an alleged offender during a trial. It will look very bad when a jury is informed that an alleged offender was given an opportunity for a more lenient sentence but failed to comply with the basic requirements.
Sealing a Criminal Record After a Pretrial Diversion Program
Even when an alleged offender successfully completes the pretrial diversion program and criminal charges are dismissed, the record of their arrest still exists. This record may still cause a number of problems for people.
You will want to discuss possibly filing an order of nondisclosure to allow you to have your criminal record sealed. Expungement (or expunction) is available to people acquitted of crimes for which they were charged, were convicted but subsequently found to be innocent, were convicted but were subsequently pardoned, were charged but the case was later dismissed and the statute of limitations has expired or was arrested but not formally charged.
Texas Pretrial Diversion Resources
Pre-Trial Diversion Program | Denton County, TX — This section of the Denton County website is dedicated to the diversionary program for low-risk, first-time offenders. An alleged offender must be a true first offender which means they cannot have had pretrial diversion (PTD), deferred adjudication, or any other type of disposition as an adult offender. Typically cases will include non-violent misdemeanors and low-level felony cases such as possession of marijuana, theft, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, and evading arrests.
Pretrial Diversion Program | Department of Justice — On this section of the Department of Justice website, you can learn more about the federal pretrial diversion program. Learn about eligibility criteria and pretrial diversion procedures. In many cases, offenders are diverted at the pre-charge stage.
Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for a Pretrial Diversion | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Are you or your loved one hoping for pretrial diversion after a recent arrest in Denton or a surrounding area of Texas? You can give yourself the best chance of being accepted into a program by having legal representation.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will fight to get all of your underlying criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We can discuss all of your legal options with you as soon as you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.