Understanding Pre-Trial Diversionary Programs

Understanding Diversionary ProgramIf you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania you may have spent some time researching what might happen in court.  Perhaps you came across terms you haven’t previously seen.  Specifically, you may be wondering what the term “Pre-Trial Diversion Program” means. The Law Office of Steven F. O’Meara explores the possibility of a diversionary program in every criminal case.  Each jurisdiction has different programs and different rules for them. However, the concept of a diversionary program remains the same.  While you are still in the criminal justice system, if entered into the right program you will be removed from the regular process. If you complete the program, you may be able to EXPUNGE all criminal records and not have a criminal record.

What a Diversion Might Look Like

Typically, diversionary programs are reserved for people without prior convictions. The local county’s District Attorney’s office decides which programs are available and the individual penalties and rules for same. The idea of the pre-trial diversionary programs is to allow any citizen forgiveness for “one mistake.” Typically, this includes non-violent misdemeanor and summary offenses.

Once you are applied for and approved for a specific diversionary program, a participant is expected to complete all aspects to “earn back” their clean record.  This can include some or all of the following:

  • Restitution to the victim(s);
  • Community service;
  • Education, such as victim awareness or safe driving classes;
  • Chemical dependence assessment, and follow recommendations;
  • Anger management evaluation and follow recommendations;
  • Remaining law-abiding during the term of your period of probation or diversion.

Understanding What is Expected in a Pre-Trial Diversionary Program

Once approved for the program, you are provided all the information you need to know. Both what is expected and how to accomplish the goals laid out for you.  If you have difficulty completing the requirements of the program laid out for you, you can typically make arrangements to still complete the program, sometimes with additional penalties. The most important thing any defendant can do is to take this seriously and complete all of their responsibilities in timely fashion.

Because a diversionary program can result in a clean record, taking the opportunity seriously is absolutely essential to your success!  

If You Have Been Charged with a Crime

If you have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests in court.  You may be facing prison time, probation or fines.  Depending on the nature of the alleged crime, you may also find yourself facing civil consequences, such as the revocation or suspension of your driving privileges.  There are a number of legal challenges which can be mounted against criminal charges.  A Diversionary program is one of many paths to keeping a criminal conviction off your record. Contact the O’Meara Law Firm to review your case.  Steven O’Meara will fight to obtain the best possible result, given the facts of your case.