Diversion is a confidential alternative to Court for youth who have committed non-felony/minor law violations such as shoplifting, possession of alcohol or marijuana, simple assault, trespass, etc. Each case is handled on an individual basis by the Diversion unit. You do not go to Court and there is no trial before a Judge.
A Diversion Agreement is a contract between you and the Diversion Probation Officer. A Diversion Agreement may require you to do certain things, such as: community service/restitution, attend counseling, informational, restorative justice, or education sessions, requirements to attend school, observe home curfews, abide by restrictions to certain geographical locations, and refrain from any contact with victims or witnesses of the offense; but you cannot be sent to jail. Under certain circumstances, you may be counseled and released, which means no further action will be required of you.
If you sign a Diversion Agreement, or if you are counseled and released, the offense you are charged with and any Diversion Agreement will be part of your criminal history. Your criminal history may result in: (a) future or other offenses not being handled by diversion or deferred disposition; and (b) future or other offenses resulting in more serious consequences. Your criminal history will show whether or not you have completed the terms of a Diversion Agreement. Your criminal history is accessible to the police, the prosecutor, the Court and the diversion unit.
If you do not follow the Diversion Agreement, the prosecutor may bring you to a hearing for the offense(s) with which you are charged. If you do not appear at the Court hearing, the Court may order that you be arrested.
If you sign a Diversion Agreement for an alcohol, drug, or firearm related offense, that offense can later be used as a prior offense to revoke your driving privilege should you be convicted in Court of an alcohol, drug, or firearm related offense.
You may ask the Court to seal your file on your current offense(s) if you spend two continuous years in the community from the date you complete the terms of your Diversion Agreement without committing any offense or crime that results in conviction or diversion.
If your criminal history includes this Diversion Agreement, then upon its successful completion, the records in this case will be automatically destroyed within 90 days of becoming eligible for destruction. Records in this case become eligible for destruction when all of the following conditions exist: (a) you are 18 years or older; (b) the records consist of successfully completed diversion agreements or counsel and release agreements, or both, completed on or after June 7, 2018; and (c) restitution is paid in full.
The goals of diversion are: (a) to hold youth accountable for criminal behavior; (b) to foster a change in attitude/behavior to conform to the law and community standards; (c) to impress upon the youth that the community is concerned with acceptable behavior/conduct; and (d) to increase the youth's awareness of the relationship between the offense committed and the people injured by the offense.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COURT AND DIVERSION
Proceedings are confidential and private
Case records are confidential
Legal representative is not required
Detention is not a possible consequence
All proceedings are open to the public
Court records are public information
Numerous court appearances may be required
Court fees/penalties will be assigned
Public defender (private attorney) fees may be assessed
upon conviction, up to 30 days detention and up to 12 months of probation may be ordered.