If you’re facing criminal charges, you may want to look into adult diversion, which is a voluntary alternative to a traditional criminal prosecution. Unlike similar diversion programs in other states, defendants are not required to plead guilty to their charges. Instead, the accused is given the opportunity to receive treatment and make financial restitution to any victims of their crimes.
Under Section 18-1.3-101 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, qualifying defendants can participate in adult diversion; if they successfully complete the terms of the arrangement, defendants avoid the collateral consequences associated with criminal charges and a criminal conviction. Not only does this help defendants avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction, but it lightens the burden on taxpayers and the state’s criminal justice system.
What is the Purpose of Adult Diversion?
There are three main purposes of diversion: 1) to help defendants address the underlying causes of criminal behavior, 2) to prevent defendants from committing further criminal acts, and 3) to alleviate the criminal justice system so it can focus on serious offenders who are a danger to society. The general belief is that when a defendant successfully completes diversion, everybody wins. The state wins, the defendant wins because they avoid a criminal conviction, and the victims win because they are compensated.
If you are accepted into a diversion program and you successfully complete it, you will not be convicted of the offense in question. You will also have the opportunity to have the records sealed by the court so the incident will not show up on standard employer background checks in the future.
In Colorado, adult diversion is also referred to as “pretrial diversion” or “deferred prosecution.” For someone who has sufficient evidence against him or her, it can be a favorable alternative to a full-blown prosecution, which has an uncertain outcome.
A defendant can enter into a diversion agreement with the district attorney. Once a defendant enters into a diversion agreement, he or she must follow a strict set of conditions and requirements. If the defendant violates any of these terms, the prosecutor can revoke the agreement and initiate prosecution proceedings. So, before you enter into such an agreement, it’s important that you speak with a Denver criminal defense lawyer about your legal options and possible defenses.
Suggested reading: “Possible Outcomes of a Criminal Case in Colorado.”
To learn more about diversion in Denver and Arapahoe counties, contact me at the Law Offices of Joseph A. Lazzara, P.C.