Seeking pretrial diversion in your case? To avoid jail time and other harsh criminal penalties in Georgia, pretrial diversion may be the best option for many low-level offenders and first-time offenders. At Fennell, Briasco & Associates™, our mission is to reduce your exposure to severe criminal penalties by seeking pretrial diversion and other sentencing alternatives. For a FREE legal consultation, contact the attorneys at Fennell, Briasco & Associates™ today at (770) 956-4030.
What is pretrial diversion?
For low-level and first-time criminal offenders, pretrial diversion is alternative to prosecution in the Georgia criminal justice system. Under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 15-18-80), local prosecutors and solicitors are authorized to administer Pretrial Intervention and Diversion Programs.
Every judicial circuit (usually every county) administers its own pretrial diversion program. For example, in Cobb County, the pretrial diversion program operates through the Diversion Coordinator of the District Attorney’s Office. In some counties, this program is called Pretrial Intervention (PTI) and in other counties it is called Pretrial Diversion (PTD).
In any case, pretrial diversion is a contractual agreement between the defendant and the prosecution, whereby the defendant must complete certain conditions in exchange for a dismissal or nolle prosequi of the criminal charges. Upon completion of pretrial diversion, the charges are usually expunged or restricted from the offender’s criminal record.
What do I have to do for pretrial diversion?
In most counties, a defendant (with the advisement of an attorney) must submit an application/petition to the prosecutor to be considered for pretrial diversion. To use Cobb County as an example, the defendant must submit a “Petition for Pretrial Diversion,” a lengthy legal document that requires the defendant to agree to certain legal restrictions. In this application, the applicant must generally agree to the following conditions:
- Minimum commitment of at least 6 months in the Pretrial Diversion Program
- Completion of counseling, mentoring, education, or drug treatment programs
- Avoidance of all persons and places of disreputable or harmful character
- Non-use of any illegal substances, alcohol, or any uncertified prescription medications
- Random drug testing/alcohol screening at unspecified intervals
- Maintenance of a valid photo ID at all times
- Compliance with all laws and traffic regulations
- Waiver of constitutional rights, including the right to a speedy trial and the right to a trial by jury
- Notice to the Pretrial Coordinator of any change in address or contact information
- Community service at an approved charitable or non-profit organization
- Any other special conditions required by the prosecuting attorney
Am I eligible for pretrial diversion?
In most cases, pretrial diversion is reserved for offenders with no prior felony convictions. In determining one’s eligibility for pretrial diversion, the prosecuting attorney will consider (1) the nature of the crime, (2) the offender’s arrest record and criminal history, and (3) whether the victim of the crime responds or objects to the application for pretrial diversion. Pretrial diversion is often sought for first-time offenders accused of:
- Underage drinking and possession of a fake ID
- Shoplifting and misdemeanor theft crimes
- Drug possession and drug crimes
- Possession of marijuana under 1 ounce
- Simple battery and simple assault
- Reckless driving
- Disorderly conduct
- Public intoxication
- Other nonviolent misdemeanor criminal offenses
Can I get pretrial diversion for a DUI in Georgia?
When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI), alternative sentencing is complex. Most counties have specialized rules for dealing with individuals charged with DUI. In many counties, completion of a pretrial diversion program will not dismiss DUI charges. Instead, the defendant must seek an alternative resolution to the case (like a negotiated plea or reduction of charges) or go through with trial. In most cases, the DUI will remain on the defendant’s criminal record.
Pretrial Diversion Lawyer in Georgia
Looking for a criminal lawyer to represent you in applying for pretrial diversion? At Fennell, Briasco & Associates™, we understand the emotional toll of facing criminal charges. Our goal is to help you regain confidence and independence by helping you obtain pretrial diversion or other alternative sentencing arrangements. From college students to working professionals, we proudly serve clients seeking pretrial diversion in the following areas of North Metro Atlanta:
- Cobb County (Marietta, Acworth, Kennesaw, Smyrna)
- Cherokee County (Woodstock, Canton, Holly Springs)
- Fulton County (Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton, Johns Creek)
- Bartow County (Cartersville, Emerson, Euharlee, White)
- Forsyth County (Cumming)
- Dekalb ( Avondale Estates, Decatur, Dunwoody, Stone Mountain)
- Paulding County (Acworth, Dallas, Hiram, Braswell)
- Pickens County (Jasper, Marble Hill, Tate, Talking Rock)