A pre-trial diversion is a special program that allows someone to get a reset that is 1 year long. During that time the defendant completes a program that results in the charges being dismissed. The program typically entails random drug tests, classes, community service, reporting once a month, paying monthly fees and staying drug and alcohol free.
Today in Harris County I was attempting to apply for a pre-trial diversion for my client who was charged with a Class B Misdemeanor. In the past, the program has been different court to court and judge to judge. However today, one of the chief prosecutors gave me an “application” that has the requirements for the application packet that we submit on behalf of our clients who are seeking admission into the program. He informed me that all courts are now going to be using these requirements, and that it will be standardized among all misdemeanor courts.
The new requirements are that the packet must be submitted within 60 days of the first appearance of the Defense Counsel. And also that the packet must be submitted 7 days prior to the next setting. Other requirements are as follows:
- Defendant has never been previously arrested or a party to a criminal proceeding
- Defendant will reside in Harris County, TX for the entire one-year of the Pre-Trial Diversion
- Defendant is a US Citizen or lawful resident
- Defendant submits a Pre-Trial Diversion application containing:
- Letter stating why the defendant deserves a pre-trial diversion as opposed to deferred adjudication
- Written confession and apology
- Drug test results (if a drug case)
- School transcripts (if a student)
- Employment verification (pay stubs)
- At least two letters of recommendation from NON-FAMILY MEMBERS (stating awareness of the criminal charge and continued support)
- Evidence of treatment or community service as appropriate
Any exceptions to this are at the discretion of the chief prosecutor in the court that is handling the case.
This is basically the same that has been required in most courts, however, there have been a few courts that require different things. This could potentially be a good thing if all the courts, prosecutors and judges are on the same page.
There is no indication of what types of cases or age groups are eligible. This is more than likely still going to be decided on a court by court basis. If you have any specific questions regarding the program, or if you are eligible, please feel free to call our office at 713-222-2828 for a free consultation.