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Arizona’s Diversion Programs: Working towards a Dismissal of the Charge
Interviewer: Let’s talk more about the diversion program. How long do they take and what different forms are available?
AZ Criminal Law Team Lawyer: Diversion means that the State is agreeing to suspend prosecution for a set period of time, to allow you to attend appropriate counseling programs, and then the charges can be dismissed. People can do diversion programs for shoplifting offenses, drug offenses, and Minor in Consumption charges.
The Prosecutor Will Inform You If You Are Eligible to Enter a Diversion Program
What happens is, though, the prosecutor will tell you if that the diversion program is something in which you can participate. What usually happens is a representative from the prosecutor’s office will tell you if you are eligible for the diversion program or if you require sentencing.
If you do not fall into either category, your case gets set to a future pretrial conference. Usually at the first appearance, someone will know whether they’re able to do, eligible to do the diversion program.
Interviewer: What’s the maximum amount of times someone could be involved with the diversion program?
The Length of Time You Will Be in a Diversion Program Varies, Depending on the Offense and What Is Decided by the Prosecution
AZ Criminal Law Team Lawyer: It really depends. There’s no way of knowing the exact time period. It depends on the crime and the State interview. When you go into the diversion program, they do this interview, and they determine the appropriate period that the person is going to be in the program. For drug offenses, it’s usually six months to a year.
Typically, Diversion Programs are Only Offered to First Offenders
Interviewer: Can someone enter the diversion program even if they’ve already had a prior conviction?
AZ Criminal Law Team Lawyer: Usually not. Only first-time offenders are able to do the diversion program.
Interviewer: Could an attorney help me with entry into a program? Is the program similar to probation?
A Diversion Program Differs from Probation; in a Diversion Program, the Charges May Ultimately Be Dismissed
AZ Criminal Law Team Lawyer: Probation is completely different than diversion. Diversion is a program that someone enters and attends classes. The diversion program is a program that you’ll go through, and if you complete it, you’ll end up without a conviction on your record. Probation is something that you are given after you get a conviction.
There is a possibility that if you have an undesignated felony and you’re on probation, if you successfully complete probation, then you can request the court designate it a misdemeanor.
Can Your Attorney Help You Apply for Early Termination of Probation?
Interviewer: Can an attorney help their client with having the probation reduced?
AZ Criminal Law Team Lawyer: Yes. In superior court, with a felony, if you complete 50% of the time that you’re on probation successfully, you can then petition the court to discharge you from probation successfully. The probation offer will usually go along with it as long as you’ve done 50% of the time that was imposed. Most definitely, an attorney can help you file a motion asking the court to do that. I’ve actually done that with clients.
An Attorney Can Also Assist with Having a Charge Designated as a Misdemeanor upon Completion of Probation
When it comes to the filing of a motion to have a charge designated a misdemeanor, if you have the help from an attorney, the likelihood of it being successful is a lot greater. It’s really difficult, I think, for people to write those types of motions and get the court to take them seriously.
I think when you’re represented by an attorney, you’re going to have a lot higher success rate than if you try and do it on your own, in most circumstances.