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Diversion Programs


Diversion is a process where a non-violent first offender is offered the opportunity to remove the crime from the courts and seal his or her record.  Typically, an offender pleads either not guilty or no contest and the charge is forwarded to the court's probation department.  There you would participate in a process that might include community service, background checks, drug screening and other probation-related matters.  You are severely restricted as to alcohol and criminal activity.  You might be ordered to do some project, like get your G.E.D.  After a period of time set by the court, the charge is sealed.  That means that the charge is unavailable to everyone EXCEPT law enforcement, licensing bodies and certain other government needs such as background checks.  If you get in trouble during your diversion, you are then found guilty and sentenced as you would have had you not participated in diversion.

For more information, call me.

Below is a typical diversion program.  This program is used in the Rocky River Municipal Court:


DIVERSION PROGRAMS

A. THE SELECTIVE INTERVENTION DIVERSION PROGRAM: The Selective Intervention Diversion Program (SIDP) is for certain non-violent misdemeanor offenses, committed by first-time offenders. Upon successful completion of the program, charges are dismissed and the records in the case are sealed from public inspection. The defendant shall pay the court costs associated with the dismissal. If the defendant fails to successfully complete the diversion program, the defendant shall be found guilty of all charges and the court shall proceed to sentencing. A hearing shall be scheduled at which the court determines whether the defendant has successfully completed the program.

At pretrial/trial, if the prosecutor determines that the defendant is a candidate for the program, the prosecutor may make a motion that the defendant be admitted to the program. The defendant enters the SIDP by entering a No Contest Plea. The defendant shall sign a program agreement. The court will hold its findings in abeyance.

No one may enter the SIDP without the consent of the assigned judge/magistrate. The factors that the court will consider are whether the defendant was cooperative with the law enforcement officer(s) making the arrest, whether the incident is a non-violent offense, whether there is evidence of remorse on the part of the defendant, the defendantís prior criminal/traffic record, whether there are any criminal cases or alcohol related traffic offenses pending against the defendant at the present time and any other factor that the court deems relevant. The court may also decline to admit a defendant into the program if, at the court appearance, it is found the defendant has an active arrest warrant.

While enrolled in the program, all participants must remain law abiding and have no further criminal offenses or alcohol related traffic offenses. Individuals may be ordered to abstain from alcohol/drugs of abuse, be subject to random alcohol/drug screening, obtain a G.E.D. or high school diploma if applicable, obtain employment, complete community work service and/or comply with any additional appropriate terms. In cases where victim restitution is applicable, the court shall order the defendant to pay restitution. There is a community control services fee for the program. Participants may be ordered to complete an educational instruction program at their own expense.

B. THE DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION DIVERSION PROGRAM: The Driving Under Suspension Diversion Program (DUSDP) is designed to assist drivers who are under suspension to restore their valid driving privileges. The Diversion Program Coordinator shall review the DUS cases presented before the court. The LEADS Printout shall be reviewed to determine the eligibility of the defendant. Program eligibility shall be determined using criteria established by the court. A defendant may not participate in the DUSDP if the charge is driving under an OVI/ALS suspension or if there was an accident.

A DUS checklist form shall be completed by the Diversion Program Coordinator. The checklist shall identify the specific problems the defendant has with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and the specific tasks and financial costs necessary to restore driving privileges. In addition, all other pending or unpaid traffic matters will be identified on this form.

Defendantís ability to participate may be determined at arraignment or following a prosecutorís pre-trial conference with the defendant/defense counsel.

  1. If eligible, defendants will be asked if they wish to participate in the program.

  2. The defendant shall enter a No Contest plea to the DUS Charge and any accompanying charges.

  3. Defendants shall sign a program agreement

  4. The court shall hold its findings in abeyance.

  5. A Journal Entry shall reflect assignment to the program.

  6. The case shall be continued on the courtís docket for a reasonable period of time.

  7. The checklist shall be reviewed and the defendant advised on the tasks and financial costs necessary to obtain valid driving status, including, but not limited to, obtaining auto insurance.

  8. Upon defendantís return to court on the DUSDP hearing date, the court will issue a finding on the original plea based on whether defendant has a valid driverís license and insurance. If the defendant has a valid license and insurance, the DUS will be amended to a failure to display charge and all accompanying traffic charges will be dismissed at the defendantís cost. Insurance issues may be resolved pursuant to ORC ß 4509.101(D)

  9. Participants of the DUSDP will be required to pay a community services fee, a mandatory fine relative to the licensing offense, plus all court costs associated with their case(s).

  10. Any program violation will result in termination of the referral, the court entering a finding of guilty on the original pleas and proceeding to sentencing.

C. THE YOUNG ADULT ALCOHOL DIVERSION PROGRAM: The Young Adult Alcohol Diversion Program (YAADP) is for first-time offenders charged with offenses alleging underage purchase, consumption, or possession of alcohol. Defendants are eligible if they also have an accompanying minor misdemeanor offense of open container or disorderly conduct.

At arraignment, if it appears that defendants are candidates for the program, and they want to enter the YAADP, they need to enter a No Contest Plea when asked by the court. Defendants shall sign a program agreement. The court will hold its findings in abeyance. This step can also occur following a prosecutorís pre-trial conference with defense counsel.

Individuals may not be admitted into the YAADP if the court finds that a defendant has prior criminal convictions, a prior OVI/OMVUAC conviction or the instant offense is connected to an OVI/OMVUAC arrest, the defendant made false statements to a law enforcement officer, there are other criminal offenses charged with the present offense or for any other factor that the court deems relevant. The court may also decline to admit a defendant into the program if, at the court appearance, it is found the defendant has an active warrant issued for arrest.

A defendant is given six months from the date of the no contest plea to complete the program. Participants shall pay a community control services fee, complete an educational instruction program at their own expense, and complete 20 hours of community service work. While enrolled in the program, all participants must remain law abiding, have no further criminal offenses or alcohol/drug related traffic offenses and are subject to random alcohol/drug screening.

Upon successful completion of the YAADP requirements a dismissal hearing will be held at which the court shall dismiss the charge and seal the record. The defendant shall pay the court cost associated with the dismissal. If the defendant fails to successfully complete the diversion program, the defendant shall be found guilty of all charges and the court shall proceed to sentencing on those charges.