Diversion programs are an alternative to criminal prosecution established by many District Attorney’s Offices in Louisiana.
In many ways, diversion functions like probation: a criminal defendant, having been arrested for a criminal offense is referred to a “diversion coordinator” or “diversion office” run by the District Attorney’s Office, instead of being sent to court for prosecution of his case.
The defendant agrees, in writing, to certain conditions. If she completes those conditions and after a set period of time has passed, the District Attorney will, in exchange, dismiss or reduce the criminal case against the defendant. There is usually a fee for participating in a diversion program. The standard conditions can range from community service to alcohol abuse screening and treatment, theft prevention courses, and obtaining gainful employment or a G.E.D. or its equivalent. Most diversion programs last from 6 months to 2 years.
The benefit of participation in a diversion program is that dismissal of the charge upon completion of the program keeps the defendant from having a criminal conviction on her record, and also allows her to expunge the arrest immediately (except in the case of a DWI arrest).
If you have been arrested and would like to discuss your options in more detail, please call us at (318) 459-9111 to set up a consult.