If you are a first-time offender who has not had any prior arrests or convictions for misdemeanors or felony offenses, you may be eligible for diversion in Georgia. The program offers an alternative to prosecution for first-time offenders who are facing minor offenses. Not only does the program offer the benefit of a clean record but it also permits the courts to concentrate on more critical legal cases.
Diversion Program Qualifications
Therefore, after an individual is indicted for an offense, criminal lawyers in Fort Benning, GA may file a petition so that an accused person can be accepted into a diversion program. In order to be found eligible, a candidate must meet the following criteria:
- The victim must have responded to the defendant’s petition
- The defendant must not have a prior criminal record
- The offender must be at least 17 years of age
- The defendant must waive his or her right to a grand jury indictment, a fast trial, and confidential juvenile records.
What Happens If You Are Accepted Into the Program
According to criminal lawyers, program participation is voluntary and must happen before a conviction is obtained by the prosecution in a case. Usually, once a person is accepted into a pretrial diversion program, he or she no longer has to show up at court hearings and is immediately enlisted in the program for a set period of time. The participant must agree to certain terms that may include community service, program involvement, and restitution.
No Conviction Is Recorded
Criminal lawyers add that participants must agree not to be arrested or charged with a new offense while participating in the diversion program. After successful completion, the charges are dismissed or lead to nolle prosequi, which means that no conviction is recorded on an individual’s criminal record and the charge can be expunged.
In order to find out more about diversion and the program outlined in Georgia, schedule an appointment with a criminal defense lawyer to review diversion requirements and check your own eligibility. If you have not been previously arrested or charged, this particular legal option can ease your worries with respect to a first offense.