“Let he who hath no sin, be the first to cast the stone.” Familiar quote, right? We all make mistakes. But just because we all make mistakes, we don’t all face criminal charges. Some mistakes bring harsher consequences than others. The State of Connecticut recognizes that we are human and that humans make mistakes. For that reason, the legislature has created various criminal diversionary programs available to defendants for certain kinds of offenses. The goal of these programs is not only to give people who’ve made mistakes a second chance but to also ensure that they receive the proper help if needed.
What is a diversionary program?
A diversionary program is a program that tolls the statute of limitations on the charges for the length of time it takes to complete the program (typically one year, sometimes two). What this means is that the State of Connecticut will suspend its prosecution of the charges pending acceptance into the program and successful completion of the program. If the program is granted by the court and successfully completed by the applicant, the charges are dismissed and the charges no longer appear on your record. In some cases, the record is sealed upon application and not viewable by the general public.
Connecticut Diversionary Programs
Depending on the offense, one may apply for the appropriate program. There are application fees, evaluations fees, and program fees, of which all or some may be waived by the court upon showing of good cause. Commonly used diversionary programs in Connecticut include:
- Family Violence Education Program – A person is eligible if charged with a family violence crime unless it is a: Class A, B, or C felony or unclassified felony with a possible prison sentence of more than 10 years or a class D felony, unclassified felony with a possible prison term of more than five years, or an offense that involved inflicting serious physical injury, unless the person shows good cause. A person is ineligible if convicted of a family violence crime on or after October 1, 1986.
- Accelerated Rehabilitation – A person must be charged with a crime or motor vehicle violation that is not of a serious nature and the court must believe that the person will probably not re-offend. The law prohibits people charged with certain crimes from participating (See CGS 54-56e for details). A person must have no criminal record and must not have committed certain motor vehicle violations outlined in the Statute.
- Alcohol Education Program – A person is eligible if charged with DUI, unless he or she was operating a commercial vehicle or held a commercial driver’s license or instruction permit at the time of the offense, or violating safe boating rules, or 2nd-degree reckless vessel operation while under the influence. A person is ineligible if he or she has a prior conviction of DUI, 2nd-degree manslaughter or assault with a motor vehicle or vessel involving DUI, reckless operation while operating under the influence or a similar crime in another state.
- Drug Education and Community Service Program – A person must be charged with a drug paraphernalia or possession crime or possession of less than 0.5 ounce of marijuana. 1st or 2nd-time participants enter a 15-session drug education program or substance abuse treatment program consisting of at least 15 sessions after a DMHAS evaluation. 3rd time participants are referred to a state-licensed substance abuse program for evaluation and a course of treatment as ordered by the court based on the evaluation and determination.
- Supervised Diversionary Program for Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities and Veterans – A person must be charged with a crime or motor vehicle violation that is not of a serious nature and have a psychiatric disability, defined as a mental or emotional condition (not solely substance abuse) that has substantial adverse effects on the defendant’s ability to function and requires care and treatment or be a veteran with a mental health condition that is amenable to treatment, if he or she was not dishonorably discharged or released from the military. A person is ineligible for this program if charged with a crime that would make him or her ineligible for accelerated rehabilitation with one exception: a person who would be ineligible for accelerated rehabilitation because he or she could participate in the pretrial family violence education program may participate in the supervised diversionary program if it is the more appropriate program for the person under the circumstances.
There are other programs less commonly used. Ask us for details.
Successful completion of these programs requires a person to take responsibility for his/her actions, demonstrated remorse, and a willingness to abide by the conditions set forth by the court. Contact the experienced Connecticut criminal attorneys at The APEX Law Firm today for assistance with Connecticut Diversionary Programs.
Contact the Skilled and Aggressive Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorneys at The APEX Law Firm
If you are faced with a crime or have questions about whether you or a loved one qualify for a second chance, call our office in Hartford County at (860) 900-0900 to arrange a free no obligation consultation. Or contact us through our website through our online contact form.