A criminal charge does not always equate to a trial, conviction and jail time. While this is often the path that a criminal case takes in New York, there are options and mechanisms available to the accused to have the charges dismissed while also providing real opportunities for rehabilitation.
This is where specific programs come into play. These diversion programs work to change the criminal legal path of the defendant. Specifically, the matter avoids prosecution so long as certain conditions are met.
Deferred adjudication and pretrial diversion
For some defendants, taking the matter all the way through court might be in their best interests. However, some may seek to avoid this process altogether so they can avoid the harsh penalties and have an opportunity to rehabilitate.
Deferred adjudication and pretrial diversion are programs used by the state to help defendants rehabilitate and illustrate they can behave responsibly. Once this is established, the state rewards the defendant by dismissing the charges against them.
The conditions set by the program vary depending on the charges involved and if the defendant has any prior convictions. These alternative sentencing programs are most often used for those facing drug charges, domestic offenses or are first-time offenders. Most often, these conditions include counseling, probation and a demonstration of good conduct throughout the program.
There are two types of programs. One requires that the defendant pleads guilty to the charges first, while the other one does not have this requirement. For a pretrial diversion program, the defendant is removed from prosecution before a plea is made. In contrast, a deferred adjudication requires a guilty or no contest plea before entering the program.
When faced with criminal charges, it is important to consider all of your options when devising a criminal defense. A pretrial diversion or deferred adjudication might be in your best interests. As such, it is imperative to understand whether you are eligible, and if so, how this option could impact you.