Diversion For Criminal Charges In Ohio

What Is A Diversion Program?
For criminal charges in Ohio, diversion is a program by which a defendant is ‘diverted’ from the traditional prosecution process.  A defendant accepted into a diversion program is given conditions to fulfill.  If those conditions are fulfilled, the case is typically dismissed.  If you are charged with a criminal offense in the Columbus Ohio area and believe you may be a good candidate for a diversion program, you may want to hire a Columbus diversion lawyer who practices throughout central Ohio.

Lawyers Helping Clients Obtain Diversion In Ohio
The Dominy Law Firm has experience applying for diversion.  For those clients who are eligible, we always seek diversion as part of our representation strategy.  Since 1997, we have been practicing criminal defense, we have represented clients charged with all types of criminal offenses, and we have successfully explored diversion for many clients.  Before you can explore the possibility of a diversion program, you must first know whether a program is offered and whether you are eligible for the program.  

Eligibility For Ohio Criminal Diversion Programs
Eligibility varies from one diversion program to another.  Some programs are formal, and others are informal.  Ohio Revised Code section 2935.36 gives authority to prosecuting attorneys to establish pretrial diversion programs.  For the formal programs operated according to this statute, the general criteria for eligibility are also established by this statute, and the specific criteria are decided by individual prosecutors’ offices.  For informal programs, the criteria are established entirely by the individual prosecutor’s office.  Generally, diversion programs are offered to first-offenders charged with misdemeanors or low-level felonies which are not offenses of violence or sex offenses.

Applying For Diversion In Ohio
Each diversion program has a screening process.  The first part of the process typically involves an attorney making a request for the client to be screened for diversion.  After that, the process varies from one court to another.  It may involve meeting with a diversion officer from the prosecutor’s office, a probation officer from the probation office, or a member of the court’s staff.  Ultimately, a decision is made regarding whether the client is eligible for diversion, whether the client is offered diversion, and what will be the conditions of diversion.

It should be noted there is no right to be offered a diversion program.  Some courts do not even have diversion programs.  For those courts with diversion programs, a person who seems eligible may not be offered diversion.  For example, in many cases, diversion is contingent on the agreement of police officers and victims who can veto the diversion program.  If a person is not offered diversion, there is no appeal from that decision.  

Completing A Criminal Diversion Program
If you are offered a diversion program, there will be conditions to fulfill.  The exact conditions depend on the nature of the offense, the seriousness of the offense, and the court in which the case is held.  Common diversion conditions include completing education/counseling related to the nature of the charge (e.g., an anti-theft program), completing an assessment to determine if other counseling is recommended, completing community service, paying restitution to the victim, reporting to a diversion officer or probation officer, and paying court costs and/or a diversion fee.  

If you successfully complete a diversion program, the case is dismissed.  With some diversion programs, you plead guilty before entering the diversion program, and then your guilty plea is withdrawn after you complete the program.  With other diversion programs, you never enter a plea.  Either way, the result is there is no conviction on your record.  You can then apply to have the case records sealed (expunged).

Attorneys Who Help With Diversion In Columbus And Central Ohio
If you are charged with a criminal offense and you are a good candidate for a diversion program, the Dominy Law Firm can help.  We have helped many clients obtain diversion since 1997.  To discuss how we can assist with your case, complete this CONTACT FORM or call us at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free consultation.

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