Madison County has recently enacted a series of pretrial intervention programs which allow many people charged with criminal offenses to avoid a conviction and the serious consequences that often flow from having a conviction.
Essentially these are programs that require accused person to attend counseling and comply with certain rules for a set period of time. If they successfully complete the program the charges against them are dismissed.
The specifics of the program depend on the nature of the charges and whether the case is being prosecuted in the Municipal courts or the County courts. There are different procedures used in the different courts.
There are a wide variety of programs tailored to different types of defenses as well as programs for certain type's of circumstances. For example there are intervention programs for specific crimes such as DUI, theft and domestic violence and programs for certain circumstances such as mental health issues and veterans court.
The most important question for most people is who can qualify for such programs. Generally, but not always, these programs are for first time offenders or for people who do not have prior convictions for the same type of offense.
These programs are not available for the most serious charges such as murder, first-degree robbery, and rape, first-degree or most other cases involving a risk of serious violence or danger to others.
Each of these programs will have specific admission requirements that must be met.
The first thing to know is that these programs are all discretionary. Even if a person meets the basics for admission, this is not an absolute guarantee of admission because the entire circumstances of the situation will be examined in determining if it is appropriate fit.
If you are charged with a criminal offense and are interested in learning more about whether you might be able to participate in a diversion or intervention program, you need to speak with your lawyer. Of course if you're looking to retain a lawyer to help you concerning a criminal charge either myself or Mrs. Segal are happy to help you.