Indiana’s pre-trial diversion program can be a godsend for some DUI offenders. One thing we’ve seen many times as DUI defense lawyers is that drivers arrested for DUI are always looking for ways to avoid a conviction. This is understandable as getting convicted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has severe consequences. Not only is the DUI driver’s freedom at stake, but they may also be unable to find gainful employment as a result of a conviction.
Thankfully, not everyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence would go to jail. Indiana law creates a grace period that allows DUI arrestees to reform and avoid a prison sentence. This is known as a pre-trial diversion program.
In this article, our attorneys at Rathburn Law Office look at how the DUI pre-trial diversion program works. If you get arrested for driving under the influence, our attorneys are your best bet to avoid jail time. So contact us as soon as possible.
Indianapolis DUI Lawyer Explains DUI Pre-Trial Diversion Program
A DUI pre-trial diversion program is the creation of the Indiana legislature. It allows a person who makes a mistake to avoid having a criminal conviction on their record. In a way, it is a form of pre-trial probation. However, the program is not available to every offender.
Those who qualify for the pre-trial diversion program are first-time offenders who committed a non-violent crime. The program does not have the same formalities of active probation like random urine tests, weekly screenings, etc. However, participants are expected to complete various terms and conditions and pay all necessary fees within the program’s year.
So, in a way, the diversion program is more like inactive probation. A person who completes the program will have all pending criminal charges against them dismissed. In addition, the person’s record remains clear of any criminal conviction. But if the person commits another offense within two years of the charges getting dismissed, they will face the new charge and have the previous one reinstated.
Who Is Eligible for the Diversion Program?
As already mentioned, not everyone who gets arrested for driving under the influence is eligible for the diversion program. In addition, aside from the person being a first-time offender, the offense committed must be a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor offense, in this case, is one that is punishable under Indiana law with up to one year in jail and not more than a $5,000 fine.
Aside from driving under the influence, other common offenses that result in participation in the diversion program are:
- Public intoxication
- Illegal consumption and possession of alcohol by a minor
- Possession of marijuana/paraphernalia
Furthermore, eligibility depends on the nature of the criminal charges and the extent of the person’s criminal background. So a habitual drunk driver with past DUI convictions is not eligible for the diversion program. Ultimately, determination of eligibility is under the preview of the prosecutor’s office and determined on a case-to-case basis. You’ll find out whether you qualify for the program at your first court appearance.
What Are the Conditions for Participating in the Diversion Program?
To participate in the diversion program, you must first make a written admission to the offense. This admission stands as evidence against you in a trial when you fail to keep with the terms of the diversion program. Next, you will have to pay a program fee, and the amount is dependent on the level of the misdemeanor charge at the time of signing the agreement.
During the program, you will also pay the cost of any additional conditions associated with your case. Note that requirements vary based on the offense type, and many cover follow-up treatment components for drugs, alcohol, anger control, or domestic violence. You might also be required to take part in community service or make restitution. Lastly, The program lasts for two to 12 months.
In Indianapolis, diversion programs are available through three existing programs, namely:
- Misdemeanor diversions
- Felony diversions
- Driver’s license suspension program
Also, as part of the diversion program agreement, you may have to complete an online class. Finally, always ensure you work with a DUI attorney in Indianapolis if you desire to enter the diversion program.
Contact an Indianapolis DUI Lawyer Immediately!
Even if you feel you qualify for the diversion program, you may not get it. But if you work with one of our attorneys at Rathburn Law Office, your chances of getting into the program are better. Even if you still don’t get in, we’ll put up the best defense to either get you off the charge or reduce your sentence. Contact us today for a free case review.