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Law enforcement authorities in Tempe and throughout Maricopa County take criminal offenses seriously. However, the county Attorney’s Office also recognizes that not every person accused of a crime should be prosecuted in the same way. In many situations, county authorities prefer to place defendants in diversionary programs that treat underlying problems like addiction and mental health disorders. These programs are meant to rehabilitate rather than punish and reduce the risk of repeat offenses.
There are several diversion programs in Tempe that a criminal defendant may be eligible to participate in, all of which are designed for different situations and may have different prerequisite conditions. Guidance from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can be key to identifying what programs might be available to you in your unique situation.
Importantly, not every criminal defendant in Tempe is eligible to participate in a diversion program overseen by the county Attorney’s Office. Generally, individuals accused of serious felony offenses and/or previously convicted of serious felony offenses cannot participate in diversion programs. Additionally, not every type of less severe charge has a diversion program specifically designed with it in mind.
If a particular defendant is eligible for a diversion program in Tempe, they may be offered or can sometimes negotiate participation in that program as part of a plea agreement. This would allow them to avoid criminal sanctions like fines and terms of incarceration. In some cases, they may even have their charges dismissed altogether. However, if someone does not complete their program or violates their terms of probation while participating, they will likely be sentenced to whatever criminal sanctions are established in their plea agreement.
Most diversion programs in Tempe are meant to help individuals overcome personal problems that may have driven them to break the law in ways they otherwise would not have. For example, the recently established Domestic Violence Excessive Response (DVER) program is intended to provide individuals with a demonstrated history of violence against a specific domestic partner with anger management counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, coping strategies, and other tools for dealing with emotional issues.
Other programs are designed to help individuals with developmental disabilities or severe mental illnesses who have been charged with low-level felonies or parents charged with similar offenses stemming from inappropriate disciplining of their child. There is also a recently launched Felony Diversion Program designed to provide treatment and education to people accused of felony drug possession offenses who are dealing with addiction issues.
The Justice Court Diversion is meant for adults charged with specific citations and misdemeanor offenses. Similarly, the Juvenile Diversion Programs deal with first-time (or sometimes second-time) juvenile offenders. An experienced attorney at our firm could discuss in more detail what specific diversion program may be appropriate for a particular defendant.
Participating in a diversion program overseen by Maricopa County authorities is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. There are many requirements that participants must meet or face strict penalties. However, successfully completing such a program can mitigate the immediate consequences of a criminal offense and minimize your risk of re-offending in the future.
A conversation with a seasoned defense attorney could help you understand what diversion programs in Tempe might be right for you. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today for a private meeting.