Facing the criminal justice system in Indiana can be a frustrating, intimidating experience. Depending on the charge and their criminal record, individuals could face jail time, fines, restitution, community service and loss of driving privileges. Fortunately, under some circumstances, prosecutors could negotiate a diversion program for certain DUI charges.
Diversion programs, referred to as such since the program is designed to divert consequences from the criminal justice system, exist to ensure an individual faces penalties for an infraction, but helps them avoid the worst of them and, eventually, see the charges dismissed. Numerous restrictions are in place, however, that might limit an individual’s eligibility for the diversion program. Eligibility requirements can include:
- The nature and severity of the offense
- If the defendant is a first-time offender
- The possibility that the defendant will repeat the offense in the future
- Special characteristics or difficulties the defendant faces
- The presence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances in the offense
The prosecutor will seek to negotiate a diversion program that defers the criminal charges over a period of time – generally one year. Based on the characteristics of the offense and the presence of any type of criminal history, the diversion program could include elements such as:
- Payment of any fines, fees or restitution
- Completion of educational classes
- Completion of required community service
- Submitting to chemical tests
- Reporting to the prosecutor’s office as directed
If the offender meets certain eligibility requirements following a DUI charge, a diversion program could be beneficial. Not only does it provide a clear path toward getting the charges dismissed, the diversion program can help an individual avoid severe penalties.