An individual charged with a criminal offense in Atlanta is facing potentially severe consequences. In many cases, these consequences could include jail time, high fines, probation, loss of driving privileges, and a permanent conviction on that person’s criminal history. Many employers conduct background checks, and a criminal conviction may result in the loss of employment. In felony cases, a conviction can result in the loss of some of your basic civil rights (i.e. the right to vote and/or own firearms). Conviction of a traffic offense can affect a person’s driving privileges, his/her insurance rates, and, of course, his/her wallet, with some traffic offenses carrying extremely high fines.
Fortunately, alternative sentencing options exist that serve to mitigate at least some of these harsh consequences. This resource will describe some of the most common options and how they work.
What is Diversion?:
Many courts operate programs known as “diversion” programs. The program is usually reserved for certain types of offenses, such as Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Shoplifting, Disorderly Conduct, and some minor drug charges. Typically, the individual enrolled in a diversion program will be required to complete a certain number of community service hours, participate in designated classes, and pay a program fee.
Depending on the offense, the accused may be required to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation or a shoplifting awareness class. Once these requirements are met, the case will be dismissed, and the individual may apply for record restriction (formerly known as expungement) of the arrest. The obvious benefit to completing such a program is that it does not result in a criminal conviction.
It is important to keep in mind that an individual’s admission into a diversion program is discretionary on the part of the prosecutor. The prosecutor will take all of the facts and circumstances of the case into account in determining whether to admit a person into the program. In most cases, diversion is not offered as a matter of course; rather, you or your attorney must negotiate admission into a diversion program. Typically, diversion will not be available if an individual has a criminal history.
If you or someone you know has been charged with an Atlanta crime you may qualify for Alternative Sentencing. Contact the Howard Law ASAP so we can guide you through the process.