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Tag Archives: Pre-Trial Diversion

Cambios al Programa de Desviación Previo al Juicio en el Condado de Harris

3 Cambios importantes al programa de desviación previo al juicio en el Condado de Harris

Hay cambios que se avecinan para los programas de desvío de Cuestiones Preliminares de la Oficina del Fiscal de Distrito del Condado de Harris. El cambio más importante tiene que ver con la capacidad de un individuo para solicitar una expurgación sobre el caso.

Cambios de Duración del programa de Diversion Previo al Juicio

En antes, cuando era aceptado en un programa de desviación previa al juicio (intervención) tenia que firmar un largo contrato con el Estado de Texas. Estos programas solían ser de 1 año para los delitos menores y en cualquier lugar a partir de 1-3 años por delitos graves. Ahora, todos los delitos menores para desvíos preventiva (en excepción el programa de DWI que es muy diferente) son 6 meses de duración.

Desviación previo al juicio: Requisito de Servicio a la Comunidad

Otro cambio en el Programa de Desviación de Cuestiones Preliminares es la cantidad de servicio comunitario requerido. Antes, la cantidad de servicio a la comunidad en el contrato era de 80 horas, que ascendieron a 10 días completos o 20 días y medio de trabajo voluntario. Esto fue muy difícil para los individuos que eran estudiantes de tiempo completo o aquellos que trabajaban a tiempo completo. Ahora los nuevos contratos sólo requieren 16 horas, que está a sólo 2 días de servicio comunitario. Esto es mucho más razonable, y no hay excusa para completar las horas.

Desviación Previo al Juicio: Intervención de Cuestiones Preliminares y expurgación

En mi opinión, el cambio más importante para el Programa de Desviación de Cuestiones Preliminares en el Condado de Harris tiene que ver con la solicitud de una expurgación. En el antiguo contrato, se les dijo que los individuos mediante la introducción del programa, que están de acuerdo de no buscar una expurgación durante al menos 2 años a partir de la fecha en que el programa ha terminado y su caso es despedido. Así que en un caso normal hurtos delito menor, se necesitarían 3 años (1 año de desvío juicio previo, 2 años de espera), además de en cualquier momento ante el tribunal que se tardó en conseguir realmente en el programa, por lo general 60 a 90 días. En virtud de los cambios determinados casos, tales como el robo, será inmediatamente elegible para expunctions. Esto significa que la misma persona que fue acusado de robo de ahora podría buscar una expurgación después de sólo 6 meses en lugar de más de 3 años.

Sin embargo, algunos casos aún tendrán un período de espera de 2 años. Algunos de esos casos son:

Delitos menores Clase A no mencionados anteriormente tendrán 1 año esperando períodos en lugar del antiguo período de 2 años. Y cualquier otro delito menor de clase B no tendrá ningún período de espera.

Esto es, por supuesto, siempre sujeta a cambios, ya que es una política de la Oficina del Condado de Harris del Fiscal del Distrito. Pero como es, en el momento de la escritura, esto es un gran cambio para los que podría ser la mala suerte de estar pasando por este proceso. Si tiene preguntas específicas, póngase en contacto con nuestros abogados sobre su caso.

New Harris County Pre-Trial Diversion Deadlines

There are new deadlines in the timing of pre-trial diversions. This morning in county court 5 of Harris County I had a client’s application denied for the pre-trial intervention program because she did not submit her application on time. As of recently, you must submit your application within 60 days of your first court appearance.  My client submitted her application on day 68.

Applications must be submitted 1 week before court and must include a letter accepting responsibility and explaining why you deserve to be admitted into the pre-trial diversion program instead of getting deferred adjudication.  I also require my clients to submit a separate letter of apology.  Applications also must include 2 to 3 letters of recommendation from non-family members who are aware of the charge.  Additionally, there must be proof that the applicant is in school, employed, or in the process of applying for school.  And finally in certain cases additional items such as drug tests (drug cases), and anti-theft classes (theft cases), might be required.

Even though my client is in their early twenties, and a prime candidate for the pre-trial diversion program she was denied based on the fact that she procrastinated and did not get me the items I needed in the first 60 days.  While I personally do not agree with this time deadline, as it does not give adequate time to the defense to conduct a full investigation of the case, it seems the DA’s office is pushing the deadline requirement hard at the moment.

It is very important to submit your items to your attorney as soon as possible.  I always tell my clients that their part (letters, transcripts, proof of employment, etc) is easy.  These are things that can be done in an hour or less.  The hard part is getting others to give you letters.  People are busy, and very rarely can people stop their everyday lives to do someone else a favor.  In my experience I have seen over and over that people struggle getting recommendation letters from their friends, co-workers, teachers, etc.  If you are in the unfortunate situation of having to apply for a pre-trial diversion it is essential that you ask for your letters ASAP!  That way, if your friends take 3 weeks to give you the letter, you still have plenty of time before the deadline hits.

A pre-trial diversion is always a backup plan, but if you are lucky enough to qualify it’s important to take it seriously.  It can result in a dismissal, and a clean record.

Pre-Trial Intervention (Diversion) Program

As a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney I get the opportunity to defend many young individuals during stressful times in their life.  I see many young adults (17-21) who have gone their entire lives without being in trouble.  Usually they are charged with some misdemeanor such as theft that stemmed from a brief lack of judgment.   They typically enter my office scared that they ruined their future and are looking for guidance.  Luckily in Harris County there is a pre-trial intervention program that is set up to give a second chance to young people who deserve it.

The process starts by submitting a pre-trial intervention application through the chief prosecutor in the court the case is in.  A basic application includes a letter of apology to the victim/complainant, a letter from the defendant explaining why they need this extraordinary opportunity, letters of recommendation, indication of future goals/plans, and indication of a stable lifestyle/mitigating facts.  The court evaluates the application and decided whether or not to offer admission into the program.

If accepted, the pre-trail intervention (or pre-trial diversion) program is typically one year long (can be more for more serious offenses).  During this year the case in question is reset and pending.  Using a recent theft case I handled as an example, what is usually included in the program is an anti-theft class, a certain amount of hours of community service (typically 80), regular reporting to the probation department (even though you are technically not on probation), random drug tests, and a drug/alcohol evaluation.   The fees associated with the program are typically not more than $60 per month as per the agreement.

The bulk of the program can be completed in the first couple of months.  After that, the goal for the rest of the year is to not get in trouble.  When the defendant returns to court in one year, the assistant district attorney runs a criminal background check on the defendant, and if everything comes back clear the case is dismissed.

This is a true dismissal that can expunged off a record (which destroys the record for everyone). Any good Houston Criminal Defense Attorney would tell you that a pre-trial intervention dismissal is much better than a deferred adjudication (which is a type of probation) dismissal.  The big difference is the fact that pre-trial intervention dismissal is eventually expunction eligible while the deferred dismissal is only eligible for a motion for non-disclosure (which will keep the record visible to law enforcement and government agencies).  If you have a case you think might be eligible make sure to contact a Criminal Lawyer in Houston who can help you.