On April 9, 2018, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced the creation of a Diversion Programs Bureau that will administer and monitor diversion programs. The following information is from a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office News Release dated April 9, 2018 https://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=490
“Diversion programs offer our prosecutors another option to help seek justice and reduce crime, said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Our success is not achieved through simply tracking wins or losses, which we do not do, but rather we measure success by seeking justice for the victims, the offender and our community. Programs like diversion allow eligible offenders a chance to stay in their communities while learning the skills to stop the cycle that may cause them to reoffend in the future”
Each case is reviewed by a prosecutor and part of the review includes identifying offenders who would benefit from a diversion program instead of traditional prosecution through the courts. Offenders who choose to go through diversion can have their charges dismissed or not filed at all upon successful completion of the program.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office offers the following diversion programs: TASC (drug diversion), child abuse/excessive punishment, Felony Pretrial Intervention, Non-drug diversion, bad check writing, and juvenile. You can read about TASC in previous blog posts. The following information about the other diversion programs comes from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deferred Prosecution Program Annual Report, 2016-17, issued on August 8, 2017. https://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/DocumentCenter/View/513/MCAO-Deferred-Prosecution-Program-Annual-Report-2016-2017-PDF
Child abuse/excessive punishment diversion is available to parents and guardians who are first-time offenders with no DCS history who use excessive force in disciplining a child that causes only minor injury and are facing a charge of child abuse or a similar offense. If they successfully complete the program, they can avoid having charges filed against them.
The Felony Pretrial Intervention Program began in July 2015. It is offered to felony offenders with minimal criminal history who are at low risk to reoffend. The offender is referred to a community treatment provider who develops an individualized treatment program targeting the offender’s specific needs. Program length will vary because this is not a “one size fits all” approach. An offender who successfully completes the program will avoid a felony conviction. The program goals are to reduce recidivism and direct limited resources to offenders who need significant intervention by the criminal justice system.
Non-drug diversion is done through Sage Counseling and TASC. It usually provides programs for offenders who require general “life skills” training, anger management counseling, and drug and alcohol awareness assistance.
Bad check writing diversion allows an offender to pay the balance of the bad check in full before criminal charges are filed. The money order or cashier’s check for the full amount is paid to the MCAO Check Enforcement Program, not the merchant or person(s) who received the bad check.
Juvenile Probation Diversion is available for juvenile offenders who have first and second misdemeanors and first time drug-related offenses. The first or second referral for diversion is handled by the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department and the referrals will not be prosecuted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may qualify for diversion and avoid a felony conviction. You need an experienced defense attorney to help you get into diversion. Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over three decades experience dealing with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Call him today for a free consultation.