Florida Diversion Programs: Do You Qualify?

Have you been charged with a low-level offense? Are you a first-time offender? The state of Florida recognizes that jail time may not always be the best option.

Rehab could be a better alternative for you. It would also save the state money; however, getting accepted into a diversion program in Hillsborough County could be more of a challenge than you thought.

What Is a Diversion Program?

Diversion programs are programs offered by the state. They are an alternative to criminal penalties related to a conviction and are typically for people accused of minor offenses.

Diversion programs give defendants the chance to get the help they need. This might include in-depth counseling or other rehab measures.

Diversion Program Requirements

Diversion programs work like probation. Each person will have different requirements that they will need to follow based on which program they enter. Some requirements include:

  • Paying the fee for the program
  • Participating in therapy or counseling
  • Reporting to a supervisor
  • Avoiding illegal drugs or alcohol
  • Participating in community service

These pretrial diversion programs will last anywhere from six months to more than one year. Your attorney can help you figure out whether you are eligible for a diversion program. If eligible, they will also help determine which one you qualify for.

Qualifying for a Diversion Program in Hillsborough

Under Florida law, only certain people may be able to participate in a diversion program. Defendants may qualify for a diversion program in Hillsborough County if they:

  • Are a first-time offender
  • Have no more than one previous conviction for a non-violent misdemeanor crime
  • Were charged with a misdemeanor
  • Were charged with a third-degree felony
  • Have no previous felony convictions
  • Have the victim’s consent to enter a pretrial diversion program
  • Have been approved to participate in a diversion program

It won’t always be clear whether you qualify for a diversion program. Your attorney can analyze the details of your case to figure out if you are eligible. If so, we can explore which diversion program is right for you.

Hillsborough County Diversion Programs

There are several types of diversion programs that you could qualify for in Hillsborough. For example, the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism program could be a good option. This is for someone arrested for a non-aggravated DUI. To qualify, you would need to:

  • Be a first-time offender
  • Have no criminal record that disqualifies you
  • Have a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.02% or less
  • Have not caused a car accident caused by drunk driving
  • Have not caused any property damage

Or maybe you have been charged with a misdemeanor. The Misdemeanor Intervention Program could be a good choice. This is for first-time offenders charged with qualifying misdemeanors.

Every person’s case is different. And the requirements you would need to meet in this program will be determined at your arraignment.

Other Diversion Programs Offered

These are only a few types of diversion programs that may be right for you. Some other diversion programs offered in Hillsborough County include:

What Happens After You Complete a Diversion Program?

Once you have been approved to enter a diversion program, you must complete it. You might be wondering what happens if you fail to complete the program.

If this happens, you could be subject to severe criminal penalties; however, there is good news. Once you have completed the terms of your pretrial diversion program, the case against you will be resolved. Then you can get back to your life.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Hillsborough

Pretrial diversion programs can be a great option for certain people facing minor criminal charges. Are you a first-time offender? Do you believe a diversion program may be a good fit for you? If so, reach out to Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A., for help.

You can schedule your initial case review when you call our office at 813-258-4800. Or complete our quick contact form, and we will reach out to discuss your legal defense strategy.