Many criminal cases are concluded without a trial. A case may be disposed of without a trial through a plea agreement or diversion program. The city Prosecutor is available in the city office at 7 pm on court night to discuss these matters with you.
Under a plea agreement you agree to plead guilty or no contest to certain charges and the prosecutor agrees to ask the court to dismiss others. Sometimes a prosecutor may amend the complaint to a lesser charge or be more lenient on sentencing recommendations.
The prosecutor cannot initiate plea negotiations and has no obligation to discuss or negotiate your case. In plea negotiations, the criminal offense and history will be considered. Please remember that a plea agreement is made with the prosecutor; the judge is not part of the agreement. Even if the prosecutor agrees to certain sentencing recommendations, the judge makes the final decision on what the sentence will be.
A diversion is a written agreement between the City Prosecutor and the defendant. During the diversion period, the prosecutor agrees to stay prosecution of the case in exchange for the defendant completing certain requirements set forth in the diversion agreement. If the defendant complies with all requirements of the diversion agreement, the prosecutor will dismiss the case at the conclusion of the diversion period. The defendant avoids having a conviction on his/her record, and the case cannot be refilled by the prosecutor. Diversion periods vary in length. An unsupervised diversion will not be granted until all fees, fines, costs, and restitution have been paid in full by the defendant. The Court Service Coordinator will review each case and determine whether or not the defendant has successfully completed the diversion agreement. If the diversion is completed successfully, the case will be dismissed by the prosecutor. If not, the prosecutor will resume prosecution of the case in the court.
If a diversion is granted, you will enter into a contract to comply with certain conditions and agree to be supervised by a diversion coordinator for a period of time. Other conditions of a diversion may include attending classes, restitution, or a no-contact order with the victim(s). A processing fee of $25 must be paid at the time when applying for a diversion. If granted, additional fees will be assessed and must be paid as a condition of the diversion. Any additional evaluations, education or treatment programs will be at the defendant's expense. You will not be able to consume alcohol or illegal drugs while on diversion and may be required to submit to testing.
By agreeing to the conditions of a diversion, you give up the right to a speedy trial, to confront witnesses, and to present evidence. However, if you successfully complete all of the conditions, the charges against you will be dismissed. If you fail to comply with a condition, the diversion agreement may be terminated and the charges against you immediately reinstated. You will be found guilty and the appropriate fines, fees, jail sentences, or community service will be assessed.
A diversion is only for first time offenders and those who do not appear likely to engage in further criminal conduct. Remember plea agreements and diversions are done solely at the discretion of the prosecutor. Both are a privilege, not a right.