If you have been arrested for a crime, this does not necessarily mean that you will be required to go through the court process. You could even be spared a criminal records. How is this possible? Many court systems through out the US have what are called Diversion Programs. These programs seek to provide alternatives for first time offenders, juveniles, and those who have committed minor offenses.
One belief system behind Diversion Programs is that such petty crimes do not warrant creating the stigma of “criminal” that one could receive if they proceed through the traditional court system. Also, these Diversion Programs also help to keep the court docket free from thousands of minor crimes, so they can focus attention on the crimes that are truly a danger to society. These programs are typically voluntary, and require approval by the court. In some states, a fee may also be required to participated in the program. However, once an offender has successfully completed the program, a recommendation will be made to the court whether or not to dismiss the charges. A dismissal rests on the offenders successful completion of their program.
The types of crimes where a participation in a Diversion Program is available can include misdemeanors such as littering, public intoxication, possession of marijuana, and shoplifting. However, the crimes that are part of a Diversion Program will vary by state. Generally, offenders who’s crimes include felonies or drunk driving offenses are not eligible for the program, although this will vary as well.
Depending on the person and the crime, the program they will be involved will vary. Diversion programs can include fines, counseling, education, and community service. Thus, the Diversion Programs work to make the offender a better person, as well as making them contribute to their community in some aspect. Many view this as a more beneficial means of dealing with minor offenses than creating criminal records and jail sentences for minor crimes. To find out if your court has a Diversion Program, you can visit the court’s website. A directory of court websites is available at www.CourtReference.com.