A diversion program, also known as a pretrial diversion program or pretrial intervention program, in the criminal justice system is a form of pretrial sentencing in which a criminal offender joins a rehabilitation program to help remedy the behavior leading to the original arrest, allow the offender to avoid conviction and, in some jurisdictions, avoid a criminal record. The programs are often run by a police department, court, a district attorney’s office, or outside agency. Problem-solving courts typically include a diversion component as part of their program. The purposes of diversion are generally thought to include relief to the courts, police department and probation office, better outcomes compared to direct involvement of the court system, and an opportunity for the offender to avoid prosecution by completing various requirements for the program.
Georgia established the Pretrial Intervention and Diversion Program under O.C.G.A. §15-18-80 to provide an alternative to prosecuting offenders in the criminal justice system. Their hopes were to help reform offenders and help them not make mistakes in the future instead of just sending them off to prison where they may not learn anything. Furthermore, these programs often require the offender to attend counseling sessions or take life skill classes that help prepare them to be a successful member of society. Georgia believes it is important to try and help offenders not become repeat offenders.
Upon successful completion of a pretrial diversion program, the judge will sign a dismissal order in the offender’s case. The major benefit is that one can maintain a clean criminal history by completing the program.
Who is Eligible for Pretrial Diversion Programs in Georgia?
As stated previously, typically first-time offenders can apply for a diversion program. They must not have been arrested before or been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense previously. However, if they have been convicted of a minor traffic offense before, that will generally not disqualify them from a diversion program. Some jurisdictions will still allow people to participate even though they were arrested but were never convicted.
We offer several Diversion Programs: Checks, Shoplifting, Marijuana, Probation Violation, Anger Management, Petty Theft, Minor Charges, Racing, Walmart Shoplifters, Disturbing The Peace, Under Age Drinking and Minor Possession. Call for an appointment 706-441-0014