court house buildingMany offenders are being invited to a type of alternate treatment from criminal behavior known as ‘diversion programs.’ These policy changes would help reduce the federal prison population alongside penalty reductions, which are seen as necessary for those who have committed low-level drug offenses. Those in charge of the prison systems and federal laws believe that this will save states money in the long run. Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, has stated, “All you need to know is we’re spending $80 billion to house prisoners at the federal, state, and local level. I can guarantee you these diversion programs don’t cost that much.”

Yes, many states are well aware of the fact that those who have committed low-level “minor” crimes may not be best served when they are sent to go through the regular court process of a plea sentence or a trial. States believe that it is enough to give these offenders counseling rather than punishment, as it works as a deterrent for the future. Diversion works in many ways depending on the state – in some cases, a defendant will not have to enter a plea to accept diversion, and in other cases they must formally admit guilt but their punishment will be suspended until the diversion program is completed.

Will I Qualify for Diversion?

Legislators choose what crimes will qualify for diversion. These are typically minor or non-violent crimes such as petty theft, personal drug possession, and sometimes DUI. You may wonder if you qualify for diversion based on the requirements. Usually, these requirements include not having probation for any prior offenses, a period of being clean without convictions, and no diversions within a specified amount of time. Talking to a lawyer is the best way to figure out if you qualify and if your attorney can get you into the program you desire. Speak to us today for more help with your case at The Law Office of Peter Blair.