Ohio’s criminal justice system, for many, is a revolving door. A person is arrested, found guilty, serves out their sentence, is released, arrested again, and the process continues. The state’s pretrial diversion programs are meant to pull some people out of that cycle. That not only benefits you but society as well.
Under state law, county prosecuting attorneys can create pretrial diversion programs using standards approved by the jurisdiction’s presiding judge. They hold first-time offenders at low risk of re-offending accountable for their actions.
They require participants to do many things, such as attending classes covering the issues and actions that led to their arrest. The goals are to teach offenders ways to change their behavior and avoid future arrests. Oriana House runs Summit County’s program, which may last six to 12 months.
Eligibility is based on the criminal charge or the nature of the offense and the person’s background. State law lists the charges that prevent someone from using a program.
They include repeat and dangerous offenders as well as those facing many charges – including aggravated vehicular homicide, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, perjury, and bribery – unless the prosecuting attorney finds:
Those involved in drug-related crimes aren’t eligible unless it involves a:
Other ineligible people include those accused of:
Another potential limitation of the program is alleged victims and the arresting officers may object to you going into the program. It’s possible that even if you meet the requirements, their testimony may prevent it from happening.
The program goes through the prosecuting attorney’s office. It involves a request to be in the program, showing you’re eligible, discussing concerns the prosecutor may have, and making the case it’s in the community’s interest you be in a program.
If you’re accepted into the diversion program, you must:
If you’re not a citizen, pleading guilty could lead to your deportation. If you don’t successfully get through the program, you’ll face prosecution on the charges.
To get into the program, you must waive potential defenses, but the charges will be dismissed if you’re successful. You’ll put the situation behind you without the expense of a trial or the consequences that come with a plea bargain agreement.
There may be many rules you’ll need to follow. Failing to do so could end your opportunity to finish the program. Some of the requirements may be:
Violating these rules could get you removed from a pretrial program. Your lawyer can help you navigate any issues you may encounter.
We will discuss the program with the prosecutor, lay out the facts, tell your side of the story, and make a case for why you should be in the program. We will explain to you what you need to do, the mistakes you must avoid, and try to work out any problems you have while participating.
At Erb Legal, we are true client advocates. That includes making the case you should be in a pretrial diversion program so you can stay out of the criminal justice system.
If you’re facing charges and think you may qualify, call our office at 330-446-3606 to schedule a free consultation.
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