Criminal Justice Information Center- Criminal Diversion Programs

Diversion Programs Available to First-Time Offenders
In Michigan, there are several diversion programs that allow a first time offenders to plead guilty, be sentenced to a probationary period with certain conditions, and if the terms of probation are met, have the charges dismissed. This means, the offender can honestly say that he or she has never been convicted of a crime.

For instance, say you have been arrested for domestic violence and this is your first time offense. Under Michigan Law (MCL) 769.4a, if this is your first offense and you plead guilty, you will be placed on probation for twelve months, prohibited from using alcohol, tested for any illegal drugs, required to perform some sort of community service and required to enter an anger management course. After successfully adhering to these terms, the charges will later be dismissed and there will be no public record of the offense.

There are other diversion programs available to first time drug offenders such as possession of alcohol by minors, the Holmes Youth Training Act (HYTA), possession of controlled substances and various other non-violent crimes where the offender is not likely to repeat the offense.

Sometimes, even if a trial could result in a verdict of “not guilty”, pleading guilty with the understanding that you will be placed in a diversion program may make more sense. For instance, I defended a young lady who was arrested for possession of cocaine. The drugs were found under the passenger seat of her car and this young lady insisted that the drugs did not belong to her but rather a friend who she had given a ride to a few days earlier. After she was arrested, her mother immediately had her drug tested that proved negative. When meeting with both the mother and the young lady, they both insisted we take the case to trial.

I believed she was innocent. Her record was impeccable. She had top grades, regularly went to church, actively participated in the community, was an after school tutor, and had great references. Even so, after speaking with the Prosecutor and being offered diversion, I convinced mom and daughter to take the deal. I reasoned, why put your future in the hands of others where a conviction would result in a criminal record. Under diversion, I was convinced this young lady would be successful with probation and there would be no criminal record of the offense.

Obviously, in a situation like this, if the prosecutor is unwilling to agree to a diversion program, going to trial makes sense. But, if the prosecutor is willing, why roll the dice where the outcome is unknown? An experienced attorney can explain the benefits and risk of going to trial, but remember; sometimes it is better to take the sure thing.

The Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC is a Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving DUI and Family Law and Divorce law firm and provides legal representation in Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County and throughout Michigan including these Michigan cities:

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The Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving DUI Defense and Family Law Divorce Attorney
(248) 705 3742