What Is a Connecticut Pretrial Diversion Program?
When you have been convicted of a crime in Connecticut, you must face the consequences. However, if it is your first brush with the law, or if your conviction is for a crime that is neither particularly violent nor sexual, you may be eligible for a consequence called pretrial diversion. Pretrial diversion programs are meant for those with low-level convictions, designed to try and help people learn from their mistakes instead of skipping right to punitive measures. Contacting an attorney to see if you are eligible may be a good move.
For Lower-Level Crimes
Pretrial diversion programs use several different techniques to try and guide offenders onto a better path, including counseling, community services, drug treatment, and random testing, and education. Those who have been convicted of relatively minor crimes like public drunkenness, criminal mischief, or simple marijuana possession (possession of a small amount of marijuana, with no intent to distribute) can have their record expunged if they complete the program satisfactorily.
Pretrial diversion is also a common sentence given to juvenile defendants, whose offenses are, by law, lesser than most crimes in adult court. Juvenile court, as a rule, is a place where sentences are not punitive, because juvenile defendants are seen to be the most deserving of second chances. (If a juvenile commits a serious offense, their case is usually removed to adult court.) The outcome is largely the same for juveniles who successfully complete a pretrial diversion program, though as long as they do not re-offend, juvenile records are automatically expunged once the person reaches age 21.
Will You Reoffend?
The major criteria for a judge to allow you to attend a pretrial diversion program instead of sentencing you to jail is the determination that you are unlikely to re-offend. However, the nature of your offense is the main determiner of which program you may be granted access to. For example, the Community Service Labor Program (CSLP) is exclusively for those who have committed drug possession or drug paraphernalia offenses under the relevant statutes. If you meet the criteria to enter the program, you can complete the program instead of serving a jail sentence.
The question of whether or not you will re-offend is hard to answer, as one might imagine - but if a judge makes the decision that you are not eligible for a pretrial diversion program, it can adversely affect your future, because then you will have a criminal offense on your record, especially if you are charged as an adult. Juvenile records are usually sealed or expunged when the offender turns 21 years of age, but the chances of having an adult criminal record erased or sealed are much rarer.
Call a Stamford Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
When you are charged with a crime in Connecticut, you need to have an experienced attorney on your side who can help you understand the nature of the charge, as well as your options for defense and sentencing. The skilled Fairfield County criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner have handled several cases like this, and Attorney Weiner is always ready to try and assist you with yours. Call our offices today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.