If you have been charged with a criminal offense, there may be options for you outside of just going through a trial to await a finding of guilty or not guilty. Indeed, in addition to pursuing justice, one important purpose of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation. As such, pretrial diversion is a potential alternative to the prosecution of a crime. Read on to learn more about pretrial diversion in Massachusetts and how our experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski can help.
What Is a Pretrial Diversion?
Pretrial diversion is an alternative to the prosecution of a crime. In exchange for the prosecution agreeing to not move forward with prosecuting the charges against you, you agree to give up your right to defend yourself and to instead participate in the pretrial diversion program. There are multiple types of pretrial diversion programs, including programs focused on substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation, community service, counseling, vocational programs, and others.
Qualifying for Pretrial Diversion in Massachusetts
While the purpose of pretrial diversion programs is to help rehabilitate an individual and improve the community, not everyone is qualified to participate in a pretrial diversion program. In order to qualify, a person may not have any criminal convictions on their record, cannot have any outstanding warrants or be currently involved in a criminal case, and must be facing criminal charges for a crime that is punishable by a term of imprisonment. In addition, the pretrial diversion program must make a recommendation that the defendant would benefit from participation in the program. Most of the time, someone who is facing charges for a violent crime will not be eligible for pretrial diversion; the pretrial diversion program is designed for those facing charges for less serious offenses, such as minor drug offenses.
A request to participate in a pretrial diversion program must be made prior to the defendant’s first arraignment hearing.
Benefits of Pretrial Diversion
There are numerous benefits to participating in a pretrial diversion program. The most obvious benefit is that by participating in a pretrial diversion program, the defendant avoids going to trial and a court finding of guilt, which means that crime will not show up as a conviction on the defendant’s criminal record. If the pretrial diversion program is successfully completed, the charges will be dismissed.
In addition to the above benefits, there are other advantages to participating in a pretrial diversion program: A program may provide a defendant with the help and support they need to make better choices in life, find a job, or acquire important skills.
Learn More About Requesting Pretrial Diversion Today
Participating in a pretrial diversion program can be a great alternative to going through a trial and potentially being found guilty. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can guide you through your options related to pretrial diversion and other elements of your criminal case. Send our law firm a message online or call (978) 397-0011 directly today.