What is Pre-Trial Diversion?

Posted by Aaron D. Lawrence | Jan 17, 2022 | 0 Comments

In general, a pre-trial diversion program is an option offered by many District Attorney's Offices that affords certain qualifying defendants an opportunity to avoid having a conviction on their record. Pre-trial diversion is essentially a contract with the DA's office whereby the defendant is given specific tasks to complete by a certain deadline in exchange for the charges being dismissed by the DA upon completion of those tasks. If the program is successfully completed by the defendant, the defendant will not have a conviction on his/her record. If, however, the program is not successfully completed or the defendant violates on of the conditions of the program, the prosecutor may still pursue a conviction. 

Those who may qualify for a pre-trial diversion program are typically first time, non-violent offenders. A prosecutor may also consider other factors before offering pre-trial diversion, such as whether there is a victim in the case, whether there were any injuries resulting from the alleged criminal conduct, whether payment of restitution is required, etc. 

Pre-Trial Diversion in DUI Cases:

Not all defendants may qualify or be offered pre-trial diversion by the DA's office; however, prosecutors do frequently offer pre-trial diversion to first-time DUI offenders. Before accepting an offer to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to weigh your options and discuss what exactly the program entails. The following are typically conditions of a pre-trial diversion program in a DUI case:

  • The defendant must typically participate in the program and remain in good-standing for a period between 6 months to 2 years. The length of the program may vary depending on the nature of the offense.
  • An enrollment fee is usually required to be paid by the defendant. This fee could be as much as $2000.00. In certain cases, the DA's office may allow this to be paid over time instead of one lump sum. Payment is necessary, though, in order to remain in the program. 
  • Participation in a substance abuse evaluation and routine drug testing may be required. The cost of the evaluation and testing, if any, will be assessed to the defendant. 
  • The defendant may be required to complete a number of community service hours and attend classes, such as a MADD victim panel class or an alcoholics anonymous (AA) class. 
  • An ignition interlock device will likely be installed on the defendant's vehicle. The cost of installation will be assessed to the defendant. 

Before accepting or turning down an offer for pre-trial diversion, we recommend you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Lawrence Law Firm, our attorneys can help you navigate the process of pre-trial diversion and inform you of the potential outcomes of accepting or refusing an offer of pre-trial diversion. It is also important to note that even if you successfully complete a pre-trial diversion and avoid having a conviction on your record, your arrest will still appear on your record unless the arrest is expunged.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can assess whether your arrest or charges are eligible for expungement, and they can assist you with removing the arrest or charges from your record. Call 318-232-4000 for a free consultation. 

The blog published by Lawrence Law Firm is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.

About the Author

Aaron D. Lawrence

Aaron is a Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney in Ruston, Louisiana. He received his Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center. He received his Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from the University of North Tex...


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