The Pros and Cons of Pre-Trial Diversion in California
Prosecutors in many jurisdictions offer something called a pre-trial diversion on minor charges. In this article, a Sacramento criminal defense attorney will explain to you what this entails.
What generally happens in a pre-trial diversion program is the following:
- You agree to an adjournment of your case for about a year and stay out of trouble and/or complete something like a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program or payment restitution (for example, paying back what you stole or paying for property damage you caused); then
- The charge against you will be dismissed and your criminal record will be expunged.
While pre-trial diversion usually benefits the defendant, it is not always appropriate or wise to accept when offered. Prosecutors will generally give a defendant only one chance at pre-trial diversion, so a defendant who accepts the program on one arrest is disqualified from pre-trial diversion for a subsequent, potentially more serious arrest.
Your Sacramento criminal defense attorney can advise you on the strength of the prosecution’s case against you. If your chances of being arrested again are high (for example, you’re a driver with a drinking problem, a serious marijuana smoker, or a dedicated political protestor) and the prosecution’s case is weak, you might want to save your chance at a pre-trial diversion for a future arrest where you face more severe charges. Some defendants would also just rather be done with the case by paying a fine or serving a short jail sentence.
If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor, experienced Sacramento criminal defense attorney Param Pabla may be able to help you. For an initial consultation, simply fill out the form on this page.