The best result that anyone facing criminal charges can hope for is a fresh start with a clean slate. Mistakes happen, and good people sometimes do bad things. At Flaherty & Merrifield, we believe that whenever possible, people should be allowed to learn from their mistakes, and be given a second chance.

Pretrial Diversion gives you that second chance. Diversion agreements are offered as an alternative to the punishments that normally go along with a criminal conviction in Florida’s criminal process. If a diversion agreement is successfully completed, the charges are dismissed.

What is Pretrial Diversion?

Diversion Agreements do not require you to plead guilty. They do not result in a conviction or finding of guilt on your record. Instead, you would be given a set of conditions to complete within a set period of time. If you do so, the charges against you are dismissed.

The court system is risky. Trials are unpredictable. Pretrial Diversion gives you the control by giving you a written guarantee that your call will be dismissed as long as you hold up your end of the bargain. Even better, if you have no other convictions on your record, you may be eligible to have this arrest Expunged after you complete diversion. Click for more information on record expungement.

What forms of pretrial diversion are available in Fort Walton Beach?

There are currently three diversion programs available:

  • Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs)
  • Pretrial Diversion (PTD)
  • Pretrial Intervention (PTI)

Typically, PTI programs are utilized in conjunction with felony cases, while DPA and PTD programs are more associated with misdemeanor cases. Though all three programs are very similar, there are a few key differences. To learn more about any of these three programs, call us at (850) 243-6097 today.

How do DPA and PTI programs work?

A diversion agreement is a contract between you and the prosecutor. The terms would be negotiated by us on your behalf. Once the terms are negotiated, and you agree with them, you will sign the Agreement. If you decide that the terms are not acceptable, we can keep negotiating, or we can reject the pretrial diversion and proceed to trial. This will be your decision.

Give us a call and we’ll be glad to talk with you about whether Pretrial Diversion might be an issue in your case, and if so, what the possible terms might be.

What happens to people who do not complete the conditions of their pretrial diversion program?

If you decide not to complete the conditions of your diversion program, your case will be put back on the court docket and the case will proceed with prosecution as normal. If you are offered Pretrial Diversion, there is really no down side to considering it. I say this for three reasons:

  • You are not required to plead guilty, so nothing goes on your record.
  • It is guaranteed that your case will be dismissed.
  • If you do not complete diversion, you can simply go back on the docket and start over.

Are diversions available to anyone?

Some charges—DUI charges, for instance—are not eligible for diversion. If you have a prior criminal record, it is harder to get diversion (but not impossible). Sexual Crimes are not eligible for diversion. Certain crimes of violence are not eligible either.

Even if your case is eligible, we will still need to convince the prosecutor that you are a good candidate for one of the programs and that you deserve the opportunity for a second chance. In order to make that argument as effectively as possible, we will need your cooperation in gathering documents, reports, character letters, etc.

Ultimately, it is totally up to the prosecutor whether to offer Pretrial Diversion. Our job is to convince them.

Flaherty & Merrifield has been helping clients in Fort Walton Beach get a second chance after a criminal arrest since 2001. We have a long track record of getting results for our clients.

Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.

Brandy Merrifield
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney