Arizona's Diversion Programs: Requirements, Costs and FAQs

Feature Article

The Ins and Outs of Diversion Programs in Arizona

Every year, thousands of people in Arizona are charged with misdemeanors or felonies. Facing the possibility of fines, jail time, and a criminal record, many of these individuals are offered a way out: a diversion program. But what exactly are these programs, who is eligible for them, and what do they entail? In this feature article, we'll explore everything you need to know about diversion programs in Arizona.

How Arizona Misdemeanor Diversion Programs Work

Misdemeanor diversion programs are designed to give first-time offenders a chance to avoid a criminal record. These programs typically involve a period of probation, during which the defendant must complete certain requirements, such as community service, restitution, and/or counseling. If the defendant successfully completes the program, the charges are dismissed, and they can avoid a criminal conviction.

Who Can Participate in a Diversion Program

Not everyone is eligible for a diversion program. Typically, these programs are reserved for first-time offenders who are charged with non-violent misdemeanors. However, eligibility can vary depending on the specific program and the prosecutor's discretion. In some cases, individuals with prior convictions or who have been charged with more serious offenses may still be able to participate in a diversion program.

Diversion Program Requirements and Costs

Each diversion program has its own set of requirements that participants must meet. These may include completing community service hours, attending counseling sessions, and paying restitution. Additionally, participants may be required to undergo drug or alcohol testing, and comply with any other conditions set forth by the court or prosecutor.

There may also be costs associated with participating in a diversion program. This can include fees for drug testing, counseling, and other services. However, these costs are often much less than the fines and fees associated with a criminal conviction.

Felony Diversion Program (formerly Drug Diversion and Felony Pretrial Intervention Program)

For individuals facing felony charges, Arizona offers the Felony Diversion Program (FDP). Formerly known as the Drug Diversion and Felony Pretrial Intervention Program, the FDP is available to individuals charged with non-violent, drug-related felonies (such as possession or sale of drugs) as well as certain property crimes.

The FDP is similar to misdemeanor diversion programs in that it involves a period of supervision and certain requirements. However, the requirements for the FDP are typically more rigorous, and may include drug treatment, regular drug testing, and more extensive supervision. If the participant successfully completes the program, the charges are dismissed, and they can avoid a felony conviction.

Domestic Violence Excessive Response Diversion (DVER)

Arizona also offers a diversion program for individuals charged with domestic violence offenses. Known as the Domestic Violence Excessive Response Diversion (DVER) program, this program is designed for individuals who have acted in self-defense or who have had an otherwise limited role in the altercation.

In order to participate in the DVER program, individuals must have a low risk of reoffending and must meet certain eligibility criteria. Participants may be required to complete counseling, pay restitution, and comply with other conditions. If the program is completed successfully, the charges may be dismissed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will participating in a diversion program show up on my criminal record?

A: If the program is completed successfully, the charges will be dismissed, and there will be no criminal conviction. However, there may be some record of the arrest and/or participation in the diversion program.

Q: Can I participate in a diversion program if I have prior criminal convictions?

A: It depends on the specific program and the discretion of the prosecutor. In some cases, individuals with prior convictions may be eligible for diversion programs.

Q: What happens if I fail to complete the requirements of a diversion program?

A: If the requirements of the program are not completed successfully, the charges will be reinstated, and the case will proceed through the criminal justice system.

How A Criminal Defense Attorney can help

If you've been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Arizona, it may be in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options, including diversion programs, and can help you navigate the court system.

Diversion programs can offer a valuable second chance to individuals who have made mistakes. If you're facing criminal charges in Arizona, contact an attorney today to see if a diversion program may be right for you.

Diversion Programs Offered in Arizona-