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If you or your child have been accused of a crime, you are no doubt concerned about the long-term consequences of a criminal record. However, depending upon the nature of the crime and any prior convictions, you or your child could qualify for a diversion program that will get the charges dismissed.
What are criminal diversion programs, and how can they help you?
The aim of criminal diversion programs is to rehabilitate defendants and help them avoid a criminal record, which can compromise their futures as productive members of society. Diversion programs are most common for juvenile defendants and those who have committed drug offenses, domestic offenses, or shoplifting, or for first-time offenders.
Denver offers a number of structured youth diversion programs specific to the nature of the offense. These programs are intended to prevent repeat offenses by addressing underlying issues and engaging at-risk youth in positive alternative activities to promote healthy development. Many participants are referred by courts and law enforcement, but schools and other community organizations can also refer youths to these programs.
The Denver Municipal Juvenile Diversion Program is geared towards juvenile defendants who have violated city laws such as vandalism, trespassing, and shoplifting. First-time offenders who have violated curfew laws are also referred to municipal diversion as a part of the SafeNite Curfew Program.
The goal of the municipal diversion program is to identify and address the underlying issues that led to criminal behaviors in order to avoid repeat offenses. This program also aims to provide support and community resources for at-risk youth and their parents or guardians.
Promoting Academics and Character Education (PACE)
The PACE program is intended for middle school and K-8 students who have committed at-school offenses such as carrying a weapon, drug involvement, fighting, habitual classroom disruption, and violence or threats towards classmates.
The PACE program is a collaboration between Denver public Schools, Denver Public Safety Youth Programs, and the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver. This program provides targeted intervention to eliminate the root causes of problem behaviors and help youth reach academic success.
Truancy Court Diversion
The Denver Truancy Court Diversion Program aims to improve school attendance and reduce truancy court appearances in at-risk youth. To be eligible for the truancy court diversion program, participants must not have prior court involvement or a current case with Human Services.
The criteria for the truancy court diversion program is tailored to each participant, and will likely include school attendance and progress reports, counseling, community service and research projects. Upon successful completion, the truancy case will be dismissed and the defendant will not have to return to truancy court.
Denver also offers adult diversion programs for some defendants. These programs are not as structured as the youth programs, but typically aim to (i) Address underlying issues that may have led to criminal behavior through counseling, (ii) Provide restitution to victim(s) of the alleged crime, and (iii) Prove that defendants are capable of good behavior. These programs also often include community service.
The terms of the agreement for adult diversion programs differ on a case-by-case basis. Defendants may be referred to diversion by law enforcement or the courts system. Alternatively, a diversion program may be filed with the court to place the defendant under probationary restrictions and prove that he or she is capable of good behavior.
If you or your child have been accused of a crime, talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to determine if diversion programs may be an option for your case. If diversion programs are not an option, a defense attorney may still be able to get your charges reduced or dropped.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.