Understanding the Pretrial Diversion Program: A Guide by Philip Kim Law, P.C.

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Explore the intricacies of Pretrial Diversion Programs with Philip Kim Law, P.C. Learn how these alternatives to traditional prosecution can benefit you or your loved ones.


Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on March 04, 2024.


The Pretrial Diversion Program

Have you been arrested for an offense? Being arrested for certain crimes does not guarantee that you must undergo a trial for the offense, let alone serve any sentence. This possibility is provided for under what are known as pretrial diversion programs.

Understanding a pretrial diversion program and how to effectively utilize its provisions in your case can greatly benefit you. Successfully completing such a program can help you avoid being held accountable for a crime and prevent it from appearing on your criminal record.

Pretrial diversion programs help to divert certain offenders from the traditional criminal justice system into alternative systems of supervision and services. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the process of securing a pretrial diversion program will aid you in no small measure. Such lawyers can provide practical guidance and assistance regarding program application and process.

At Philip Kim, Law, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience handling pretrial intervention through a pretrial diversion program for our clients who can explore this alternative system. Besides the pretrial diversion program, we can also represent and defend you in several criminal cases that have no option or allowance for a pretrial diversion program.

What Is a Pretrial Diversion Program?

Definition and Purpose

A pretrial diversion program is an alternative resolution of a criminal matter through which you can avoid a criminal conviction and a jail term. In other words, it is an alternative to prosecution that makes you circumvent the standard criminal justice process by entering a program administered by the U.S. Probation Service.

The program diverts you from the criminal justice system into supervised release under certain required decisions. This supervised period can be up to 18 months.

The purpose of pretrial diversion programs includes the following:

  • To prevent future criminal activity and enhance rehabilitation among certain offenders by diverting them from traditional criminal justice processing into community services and supervision, which may include substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment.

  • To provide affected communities and victims of crime with a vehicle for restitution where appropriate.

  • To conserve prosecutive and judicial resources and concentrate them on major crimes.

Eligibility Criteria

Most pretrial diversion programs require participants to have no prior convictions or maintain a relatively clean criminal record. However, some programs allow judges to make exceptions based on their assessment of whether the individual would benefit more from the program than from traditional criminal justice proceedings, regardless of their criminal history.

Generally, pretrial diversion programs are instituted for non-violent misdemeanors. Likewise, it must be established that you are not a threat to public safety before you may be considered for the programs.

You may not be eligible for pretrial diversion programs if you fall within the purview of the following situations:

  • You are accused of an offense resulting in serious bodily injury or death.

  • You are accused of an offense having to with child exploitation, sexual assault, or sexual abuse.

  • You are accused of a crime involving brandishing or use of a deadly weapon or firearm.

  • You are accused of an offense bordering on national security, foreign affairs, or terrorism.

  • You are a public official accused of a crime bordering on violating public trust.

  • You have had two or more prior felony convictions.

Our criminal defense attorneys at Philip Kim Law, P.C., can help assess your eligibility for a pretrial diversion program.

How Pretrial Diversion Programs Work

The Application Process

Pretrial diversion programs seek to lighten the strain on courts by diverting non-violent offenses and rehabilitating those who can maximize them most. You may have pretrial diversion programs for certain crimes, such as shoplifting, drug possession, domestic violence, and driving under the influence.

For drug offenses, pretrial diversion programs usually involve the following:

  • Completion of a substance abuse or drug rehabilitation program

  • Being tested for drugs and passing random drug tests during the pendency of the program

  • Maintenance of stable employment or a full-time student status

  • Provision of status updates regularly to the court or program officers.

For drinking under the influence (DUI) offenses, the program usually involves the following:

  • Completion of an alcohol rehabilitation course

  • Passing a driver safety course

  • Driving with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your car.

Generally, virtually all pretrial diversion programs will require you to avoid being arrested for another offense for a specified period, and you complete a certain number of community service hours. You may also be required to comply with specific restraining orders and pay all required program fees.

Potential Limitations and Benefits of Pretrial Diversion Programs

Limitations in Scope and Availability

There are possible limitations to having pretrial diversion programs. Some pretrial diversion programs may require you to plead guilty to the charges you are facing before you can access the programs, while some do not need you to plead guilty. If a pretrial diversion program requires you to plead guilty to the criminal charges first, it can be a risk worthy of consideration before engagement.

It is a risk because if you fail to complete the program, ultimately, your case will go to court and directly to the sentencing stage since you have already pleaded guilty to the crime. When you have pretrial diversion programs that require you to plead guilty, it would be best to contact your attorney before making such a decision, especially when you have legitimate defenses you can explore in trial.

Benefits in Compliance and Completion

If assessed to be eligible for a pretrial diversion program and upon successful completion of the program, you will have your charges dismissed. If the program had taken you before charges were even filed, the prosecutor would have to drop the case when you complete the program.

If you took a guilty plea before completing the program, the judge will change the guilty plea to that of not guilty, dismiss the case, and seal the guilty plea by expungement.

Contact Philip Kim Law, P.C., For Your Pretrial Diversion Programs

Understanding pretrial diversion programs is essential to your criminal case, especially when you can meet the eligibility requirements. Your attorney will help you determine whether or not you are eligible, and through the program, you can prevent a criminal conviction and ultimately maintain a clean criminal record.

Our criminal defense attorneys at Philip Kim Law, P.C., are willing to guide you through the process of securing pretrial diversion programs. We utilize a client-centric approach to get the best possible outcome in criminal cases by tailoring legal strategies on a case-by-case basis and suitability. In addition, we can provide you with an effective legal representation in trials if you do not meet the eligibility requirements of pretrial diversion programs.

Contact Philip Kim Law, P.C., today for personalized assistance.

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
Fax: (678) 273-3501
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