If you are facing criminal charges, it’s imperative that you know all of the options available to you. One often overlooked aspect before trial is the possibility to enter what’s known as a pretrial diversion program. These programs are designed to help low-level offenders enter a program that benefits the community through court sanctioned directives in lieu of a possible jail or extended probation sentence. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the diversion programs offered in Minnesota.
Types Of Pretrial Diversion Programs In Minnesota
Pretrial diversion programs can provide an alternative to the traditional court process, and in some cases it can even lead to the charges being dropped so long as you complete the program. As we mentioned above, these programs are reserved for low-level, nonviolent crimes. Here’s a look at some of the diversion programs that Minnesota offers certain offenders:
Driver Assistance Program – If you have a number of unpaid traffic tickets, you can actually end up having your license suspended. When this happens, a person can enter a driver assistance diversion program. The participant will have to undergo a driver training session and may have to pass a written or behind-the-wheel test. The individual will also need to develop and stick to a repayment plan for their outstanding tickets. If they do this, their license will be reinstated.
Police Interaction Program – For individuals who face misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges, they may be eligible for the police interaction program. This program involves talking with law enforcement to get a better understanding of their role, the criminal charge and why it was issued in the first place. This back and forth between a law enforcement official and an offender helps a defendant better understand the purpose behind police procedures as it pertains to their case.
Retail Theft/Shoplifting Program – Minor theft and low-level shoplifting charges can sometimes be resolved by the completion of the retail theft diversion program. This involves classroom instruction and education, and you’ll likely have to make some amends with the business or community in the form of paying restitution or completing community service.
Restorative Justice Program – Certain misdemeanor crimes, like littering, loitering, disturbing the peace and some alcohol or drug charges can be rectified through a community restorative justice program. Oftentimes this involves a sit down with community members to talk about the incident as well as the completion of a required amount of community service hours.
Juvenile Program – The juvenile program is designed for offenders between the ages of 13 and 18. This structured program is based on the individual charge and focuses on improving self-esteem, healthy conflict resolution and the role law enforcement plays in our society.
Am I Eligible?
Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, but the easiest way to see if you’d be eligible for one of these diversion programs in lieu of traditional court is to talk to your lawyer. We have an extensive knowledge of the diversion programs offered around the area, and we can help connect with the City Attorney’s office to see if you could be entered into one of these programs. Many people do not pursue these opportunities because they don’t even know they are an option, but we’re very familiar with them at Appelman Law Firm.
Of course, if we think we can beat the case outright, we can do that for you as well. We just want to ensure you know all of your options and make the best decision for you now and in the future. For more information about diversion programs, or to set up a free consultation to talk to a defense lawyer about your case, reach out to the experienced legal team at Appelman Law Firm today.