A criminal conviction comes with a lot of stigma and consequences that can last your entire life. For this reason, any sentence can be an overly harsh punishment for less serious crimes, especially if the accused is unlikely to offend again with proper intervention. That’s why Ohio law offers the option of a pretrial diversion program to qualified candidates. This is something that an experienced Columbus defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.
A pretrial diversion program is a program where you spend a certain amount of time under probation-like supervision for a period of up to one year after you admit your guilt and promise not to offend again. You must generally pay a fee for supervision services, waive certain rights privacy, and obey all laws and the specific conditions of the program. Most programs include elements of drug treatment, education, or rehabilitation programs, community service or victim restitution, and increased personal responsibility. Once you successfully complete the program, criminal charges are dismissed and the arrest is expunged. This gives you a clean slate as though the charges never happened.
Who Is Eligible for Pretrial Diversion in Columbus?
In Ohio, certain non-violent criminal defendants who are unlikely to reoffend may be eligible for pretrial diversion. While most people eligible for pretrial diversion have committed relatively minor crimes, you may still qualify after certain felony offenses. The exact nature of pretrial diversion programs in Ohio varies from county to county, but the following crimes are commonly eligible:
- Non-violent, first time offenses
- Possession crimes
- Crimes motivated by drug or alcohol addiction (such as theft or prostitution)
- Passing bad checks
- Other crimes typically not associated by recidivism
In particular, Ohio has a strong “in lieu of conviction” program for people committing crimes motivated by addiction to drugs or alcohol, so if you have this kind of problem, you are likely to qualify for a treatment-centered program. Usually, the only people automatically excluded from pretrial diversion are repeat or dangerous offenders, people accused of violent crimes, and people who have threatened another person with physical harm.
If you want to know if your particular case qualifies for pretrial diversion, the best way to find out is to discuss the exact circumstances of your arrest with an experienced defense attorney. In Columbus, many options are available to you, so you can avoid a damaging criminal record with the help of a Columbus criminal defense lawyer. That’s why it’s important to call us immediately if you have been arrested. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we will fight for the best outcome for your case and support you every step of the way. Contact us today at (614) 500-3836 to set up a free consultation.