In this blog, we are going to review five things that people should know about pretrial diversionary programs in Connecticut.
If you have been arrested for a serious motor vehicle offense or crime in Connecticut, one option is to plead not guilty and take your case to trial. Going to trial has many disadvantages as trials are very costly, and the results are never guaranteed no matter how strong a case you have. The other option is to accept a plea bargain, which many clients don’t want to do, especially if they are not guilty.
Diversionary programs are a way to resolve your case without going to trial and obtain a dismissal of the charges against you. In some situations, using a diversionary program is the ideal way to resolve your criminal charges. Diversionary programs are commonly used in Connecticut. We have a multitude of diversionary programs available for various circumstances. If you have been arrested for any crime or serious motor vehicle offense, you should consult with an experienced Connecticut criminal defense lawyer to review all of your options.
1. Diversionary Programs Were Designed to be Used For Minor Offenses But Can be Used For Felonies Also
Originally, diversionary programs were intended to be used for minor criminal offenses that were deemed not too serious. As time has gone by, the list of crimes for which you can use a diversionary program has continued to expand. You can now use the accelerated rehabilitation program, a standard diversionary program, for Class C felonies, for example, if you show “good cause” why the program should be granted. Similarly, you can use the family violence education program, another diversionary program, for Class D felonies if you can demonstrate “good cause” why the program should be granted. No matter which diversionary program you are applying for, you will have to show that your offense was not so serious that the court should not grant you the program.
2. Using a Diversionary Program Is Not an Admission of Guilt
As I have written before, using a diversionary program does not require you to plead guilty. Using a diversionary program does not indicate that you are guilty. When you apply for a diversionary program, generally, the file is sealed, and the charges against you will be dismissed upon successful completion of the program. Many clients feel that using a diversionary program is somehow giving in or giving up. Using a diversionary program is a rational, common sense, and recommended way to resolve a criminal or serious motor vehicle case without having to take the case to trial. If you have more specific questions about how the process would work in your particular case, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
3. There Are a Multitude of Diversionary Programs in Connecticut
Connecticut has really embraced diversionary programs, and there is an ever-expanding list of diversionary programs, each designed to address particular types of offenses or offenders.
- The accelerated rehabilitation program is the basic general diversionary program that covers most crimes
- The family violence education program is a diversionary program for family violence crimes
- The alcohol education program is a diversionary program for DUI related offenses
- The drug education community service program for certain drug possession crimes
- The pretrial school violence prevention program for students who engaged in violent crimes in schools
- The supervised diversionary program for individuals charged with a crime who suffer from a mental or emotional condition
As we can see, there are a lot of different diversionary programs, and each one has its own rules and restrictions. It would be best if you spoke with an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney to determine which diversionary program is best suited to your case and what is the best approach to get the program granted.
4. If You Are Charged With Several Crimes, You Can Use Multiple Diversionary Programs at the Same Time
It is often possible to use a combination of diversionary programs to resolve a set of charges that a client is facing. While often one diversionary program may not extend far enough to cover all the charges that you are facing, it may be possible to use two or more diversionary programs to resolve all of your charges. Of course, the best solution is to have your attorney negotiate a resolution to allow you to use one diversionary program to “cover” all of your charges and dismiss or nolle the other charges upon successful completion of the program. This kind of negotiated solution is not always possible. It is important to understand that if needed, you can utilize two programs at the same time.
For example, a man is pulled over for suspicion of DUI, and the officer finds a small amount of cocaine in his center console. The man is arrested and charged with DUI and possession of narcotics. The man could use the combination of the alcohol education program and the drug education community labor program to resolve these two charges. Upon successful completion of the two programs, both of the charges would be dismissed.
5. Generally, Upon Completion of A Diversionary Program, We can Remove Adverse Newspaper Articles
One of the positive aspects of the use of a diversionary program for those who have had an adverse newspaper article published about them online is that upon successful completion of the diversionary program, your charges are dismissed. When the charges are dismissed, you are deemed to have never been arrested pursuant to our erasure statute, and all records of your arrest will be destroyed. In most cases, this office can get most online publications to remove adverse arrest articles upon the successful completion of a diversionary program.
Call a Stamford Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!
If you have been charged with a crime, serious motor vehicle offense, or domestic violence crime in Connecticut, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to review all of your options, including the possibility os using a diversionary program. If you would like more information about diversionary programs or any aspect of your case feel free to contact Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 for a free initial consultation to review all of your options