If you have been charged with petty theft, underage consumption of alcohol, or a misdemeanor drug charge such as possession of marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia, or drug paraphernalia, you may be eligible for diversion.
While eligibility for diversion can be complicated, the basics are that you:
So how does diversion work, you ask? You enter a guilty plea, you’re sentenced, and then you must complete the terms of diversion within 90 days or the sentence will be imposed and a conviction will be docketed. To complete diversion successfully you must:
If you complete diversion successfully the guilty plea will be withdrawn and the charges will be dismissed. However, you will still need to file to have the dismissed record sealed; having an agreement on the record that the prosecutor won’t oppose it just makes the process a little easier. There is no waiting period to seal a dismissed charge, unlike the waiting requirement for elibible convictions.
It’s important to note that diversion is still highly discretionary. The prosecutor has to recommend it as an option and the court has to allow you the benefit. Participation is a privilege not a right. However, having an experience criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the court process and make the right arguments on your behalf will improve your chances of success.