The attorneys at Hurst & Hurst would like to inform you about a program for good people who have made a serious mistake but are not habitual criminals. The program is called Pretrial Diversion and if a person is eligible it can allow them to avoid going to prison even if they are actually guilty of the Class D felony they have been charged with. If the program is successfully completed it is even possible to get the charge removed from you criminal record.
In general a person is eligible for Pretrial Diversion of their Class D felony if, (1) they have not had a felony conviction in the ten years prior to the commission of the current offense, or (2) they have not been on probation, parole or released from incarceration for a felony within ten years prior to the commission of the current offense. There are certain categories of crimes that specifically can’t be diverted. Most of those crimes can be classified as sex crimes and violence against children. Also, a person cannot take advantage of this program more than once in a five year period. In my experience, the most common charge that qualifies for Pretrial Diversion is a felony drug possession charge.
After a person has been indicted with a Class D felony a person eligible for the program may apply to the Circuit Court and the Commonwealth Attorney for entry of a Pretrial Diversion Order. Realistically your attorney will discuss your case with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to see if they are willing to negotiate a deal for Pretrial Diversion. If an agreement is reached between your attorney and the Commonwealth’s Attorney that you find acceptable; then you plead guilty and waive your right to a speedy trial. If the Judge agrees, and they usually do, then a Pretrial Diversion Order is entered and the Defendant is given an opportunity to avoid jail time.
What happens after the Court has entered an order for Pretrial Diversion will vary slightly. It will depending upon your Judge and the deal reached between your attorney and the Commonwealth’s Attorney. As the Judge has some discretion with Pretrial Diversions. The following the following six conditions will be ordered in all Kentucky Counties. These conditions are mandated by the statute that created Pretrial Diversion for Class D felonies.
As I mentioned before, the conditions of a Pretrial Diversion Order will vary slightly from Judge to Judge. The previously mentioned Pretrial Diversion requirements are mandated by statute. However, Judges have some discretion to add more requirements for Pretrial Diversion. Some examples I have seen are requiring the Defendant to complete community service hours and maintain a full time job or attend college full time. Also some Judges are insistent that all Pretrial Diversions last for the five year maximum allowed by law. While other Judges will allow shorter terms. If you hire an attorney who is familiar with the area where your case is pending they should be able to tell you about the tendencies of local Judges.
Please remember that a failure to satisfy any of the requirements of your Pretrial Diversion will result in your deal being revoked and you will go to prison without a trial because you have already plead guilty.
The most immediate benefit of Pretrial Diversion is you can avoid jail time even if you would likely be convicted if you went to trial. After you complete the Pretrial Diversion you can file a motion with the Court to have the entire case voided and removed from your criminal record. In the long run this is the most valuable part of Pretrial Diversion. As it allows people to learn from a mistake and not be punished for it for the rest of their lives by a felony conviction on their record.
If you have any questions about Pretrial Diversion or you think you may qualify for the program call Hurst & Hurst Law at (859) 209-2101.