Virginia's Pretrial Diversion Program

Posted By David L. Carlson, Attorney At Law || 23-Dec-2015

If you were recently arrested for a nonviolent crime in Richmond, you’ll be interested in learning about Virginia’s Pretrial Diversion Program – a program that helps criminal defendants while saving the courts money.

The Pretrial Diversion Program was created to prevent defendants from developing long-term, destructive behaviors that result in a pattern of criminal activity.

The program has proven to give offenders a second chance, while helping them recognize their obligations to their victims, their community, their family, and themselves.

Are you required to participate in Pretrial Diversion? No, it is not a requirement; it is strictly a voluntary program for defendants charged with misdemeanors or criminal violations. Why do people participate in this program? Here is one good reason:

Once an offender completes the program, the court receives a recommendation to “dismiss” their charges. If you are interested in participating in the program, you’ll need to be approved by the district judge, and you must have the consent of the county attorney.

For defendants, there are many benefits to completing the Pretrial Diversion Program, namely avoiding a criminal conviction. They also benefit from helping others and changing their own lives through counseling, education, training, or treatment.

Are you eligible for the program?

To be eligible for the program, you must have been charged with a misdemeanor or a criminal violation; you can’t be facing felony charges. Examples of qualifying offenses, include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Littering
  • Public intoxication
  • Criminal trespassing
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Possession of alcohol by a minor
  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Marijuana possession
  • No insurance

Criminal defendants who are not eligible to participate in the Pretrial Diversion Program are those who are being charged with DUI or a felony.

Community Services and Resources

Individuals who participate in Pretrial Diversion have many community resources available to them.

Those who take advantage of these services have a greater chance of avoiding criminal behavior in the future. Some of these resources, include: alcohol and drug abuse treatment, counseling, parenting classes, financial counseling, GED programs, adult literacy programs, and volunteering for nonprofit charities (community service).

Interested in learning more about avoiding a criminal conviction through Pretrial Diversion? Contact Carlson & Collier to speak with a Richmond criminal defense attorney!

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Glen Allen, VA 23060
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