Pretrial Diversion in New York
If you have been arrested for a crime, you may believe that there are only two possible outcomes: You are either found guilty or not guilty. There are, however, other possibilities, particularly for first-time offenders accused of nonviolent crimes. Diversion is particularly common for nonviolent drug crimes. Eligible defendants in New York can apply for a pretrial diversion program that offers an alternate path to reform outside of jail time or building a criminal record. Learn about pretrial diversion in New York below and reach out to a compassionate New York criminal defense lawyer if you have been arrested in New York or the Hudson Valley.
What is pretrial diversion?
Pretrial diversion is an alternate procedure to typical criminal sentencing. The defendant admits guilt to the crime, but rather than issue a sentence such as jail time, the judge will order the defendant to participate in a program that is tailored to the facts of their case. For example, if the defendant is charged with drug possession, the program may involve substance abuse evaluation, counseling, detox, etc.
The programs typically last 12 to 24 months, averaging about 18 months. The defendant often can attend the program in an outpatient sober house and continue to work at their job. The defendant will have a probation officer assigned to them throughout the duration of the program to ensure that all conditions of the program are met.
If the defendant satisfies all conditions and completes the program successfully, then the defendant’s charges will be dropped. The case will come to an end, and the defendant will be left with no criminal conviction on their record.
Eligibility requirements for diversion
Defendants charged with a Class B, C, D, or E felony drug offense (such as possession, sale, manufacturing, trafficking, etc.) or certain other specified nonviolent offenses may apply for diversion. Defendants are not eligible for diversion if they have been convicted of a violent or Class A felony in the past ten years or if they have been adjudicated as a second or persistent violent felony offender.
Pros and cons of diversion
Diversion allows a defendant to get help outside of the criminal justice system and avoid a conviction that could derail their life by leaving a permanent mark on their criminal record. Defendants benefit from recovery, such as from alcohol or drug addiction or anger management issues, and they avoid developing a criminal record.
However, the programs have some drawbacks. For one, defendants are generally required to pay for the programs themselves. Additionally, defendants may have to enroll at an in-house sober center, which can take them out of their home and their daily routine. And, if the defendant fails any conditions (such as by failing a drug test), they will end up back in court and may face an even harsher sentence. Your criminal defense attorney can discuss your options and determine whether you may be eligible for diversion and, if so, whether diversion is your best option.
Call Dupée & Monroe in Goshen after a Hudson Valley Drug Arrest
If you have been arrested on drug charges in Orange County or the Mid-Hudson Valley, contact Dupée & Monroe in Goshen at 845-294-8900 to speak with experienced New York criminal defense attorneys about the best options in your particular case.