If your child is accused of a crime, you may be feeling scared and overwhelmed. The lifelong consequences of a criminal conviction are terrifying for anyone, but the thought of that happening before a child has even reached adulthood can be overwhelming. However, in many cases there are options for avoiding a criminal conviction and the long-term consequences that accompany it.
Some underage defendants accused offenses may be eligible for a diversion program for minors in Mesa. These programs are meant to divert minors from the criminal justice system and can be very effective forms of rehabilitation and re-offense prevention. Speak with the dedicated attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group about protecting your child from the harsh impact of a criminal conviction.
Ideally, alternatives to custody and conviction should occur at the earliest stages of the juvenile justice processing system. Early intervention is key to preventing further involvement in the system. After a juvenile is arrested, they will begin the court process. Your attorney can work with the prosecutors to attempt to convince them that the child is eligible for a “diversion program.”
In a nutshell, a diversion program is where the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the case once the accused child has completed certain requirements such as classes, counseling, letters of admission and apology, community service, etc.
To successfully navigate the Mesa juvenile intervention or diversion programs process, it is crucial for child and their family to work with a knowledgeable lawyer who is familiar with the juvenile court system.
As per Arizona Revised Statute § 8-321, a juvenile who faces charges for certain offenses is not eligible to participate in a Mesa diversion program for minors. Some of the conditions that can disqualify an adolescent from any of the programs are listed below:
According to research completed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, 80 to 90 percent of minors successfully complete diversion programs and do not return to the system as juveniles. Lawmakers strongly believe the youth justice system should focus more on education and rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Rehabilitation helps prevent future arrests and gives young offenders the tools they need to become productive members of society. The juvenile accepts responsibility and learns from their actions to avoid future issues with the criminal justice system.
Successful completion of the program will also ensure that the charges do not go on a minor’s permanent criminal record. The programs offer restitution programs, community service, training, tutoring, cognitive, crisis, and drug counseling, and follow-up or check-ins after completion. It is not an easy road, but the ultimate outcome is easily worth the benefit. The dedicated attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group have helped many Mesa families benefit from these juvenile intervention programs.
It is important to understand that if your child fails to complete the program requirements, they risk conviction. Entry into the program will require an admission of guilt (even though it is never entered if they successfully complete). Failure to complete in some programs results in reinstatement of prosecution where your case starts again.
In other agreements, failure to complete diversion leads to automatic entry of a conviction with no further opportunity to defend or negotiate. If your child has been removed or accused of failing to complete your diversion program, contact an attorney right away to discuss your options.
Diversion programs do not always make sense for every accused person. Some of the difficulties of entering a diversion program are that 1) there is almost always some admission of guilt that must take place, and 2) it removes the ability to defend and let a judge decide your guilt or innocence.
Some of our clients decide after long discussion, that diversion is not the right choice for them, even when it is offered. We will never tell our clients, if they are truly innocent, that they must take a diversion plea. We are committed to fully informing our clients and fighting for the best outcome for them so that they can make the best decision for them and their families.
If your child is facing a criminal conviction, they are at risk of a permanent mark on their record with life-long repercussions. To protect their future, reach out to the legal team at Grand Canyon Law Group as soon as possible.
Our skilled lawyers can negotiate with the court on your family’s behalf and, if appropriate, help your child gain acceptance in a diversion program for minors in Mesa. We know the juvenile justice system. We understand that supporting your child during the criminal justice system process is stressful and challenging. We are here to support you at every step of the way.