During a conversation with a good friend of mine, and a great Houston Criminal Defense Attorney, Shelby Burns, I found out there is a new pre-trial diversion program in Galveston County for individuals charged with certain misdemeanor crimes. To be eligible, you must have no prior criminal history except traffic citations. And no felony offenses will be eligible for the program.
Charges that will be Eligible for the Program
- Possession of Marijuana: Class B & A
- Possession of a dangerous drug
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (misdemeanor)
- Evading Arrest
- Theft Class B & A
- Deadly Conduct
- Criminal Mischief
- Burglary of a Vehicle
- Reckless Driving
- Assault – Bodily Injury
- Assault – Family Member
- Failure to report accident
And other misdemeanors not listed below.
- Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia
- Anything sexual in nature (public lewdness, prostitution, indecent exposure, etc.)
- Resisting Arrest
- False report to police
- Possession of Marijuana in a Drug Free Zone
Unlawful carrying of a weapon along with another case is not eligible, but Unlawful carrying of a weapon alone is ok. When applying the individual must give a clean UA if the case is a drug offense, proof of restitution or attempted restitution for theft, and must forfeit weapons for gun charge.
Defendant will fill out an application for the program which will be submitted in person to the probation department, then forwarded to the DA’s office. The application must be turned in and filed by 90 days after the case is filed, or announcement #2 docket (which probably means the 2nd time in court).
Assistant district attorneys will decide whether or not to approve the application and then they will be in charge of sending it to the probation department for an interview and final approval. Defendants must contact probation to setup interview for a pre-trial intervention within 3 days of Defendant or Defense Counsel receiving a letter in the mail.
If the application is denied for any reason, defendant cannot appeal this denial. If accepted, the Defendant will sign a contract and swear to a confession in court in order to be allowed to start the program. The Defendant will also have to pay a $200 fee on top of any court costs and probation fees associated with the pre-trial diversion.
The District Attorney’s office will have the final say on if a Defendant is revoked or not for any violation of the contract. If revoked, the precious confession will be entered into evidence and the contract will state that defendant will not object and will plead guilty. If the defendant is successful, the case at issue will be dismissed.