According to statistics from the Prison Policy Initiative, there are approximately 21,000 people in some form of incarceration in Minnesota. Diversion programs for certain categories of lower-level offenses help to keep this number from increasing too quickly. These schemes may also help you to get back on the road following a driving license revocation or suspension.
There are various different diversion programs that apply to different types of crimes. Whether or not a Minnesota diversion program will be available in your case will depend on a range of factors.
What Is Involved in a Minnesota Diversion Program?
There are two broad types of diversion programs related to criminal matters in Minnesota; pretrial diversion and precharge diversion.
Pretrial diversion is available to some categories of individuals who have been charged with an offense but have yet to go to trial. It involves the suspension of charges by prosecutors, and dismissal of them following the successful completion of a program.
Under pretrial diversion programs, county attorneys are obliged to report certain information to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. This includes the personal details of program participants and the dates on which their involvement in programs begins and ends. Additionally, county attorneys must provide reports on how well the program is working in their area every other year.
Precharge diversion, the less common of the two types, occurs prior to a charge. Under this type of scheme, prosecutors allow alleged offenders to avoid charges if they can successfully complete a program. This framework allows individuals to avoid contact with the criminal justice system altogether, and can therefore be a useful path for juvenile offenders.
Either type of diversion program may involve components like rehabilitation for drug or alcohol abuse issues, counseling sessions, education, provision of access to community resources, and payment of victim restitution to those affected by an offense. The specific make-up of a program will depend on the nature of the alleged offense and the particular circumstances of the individual involved.
It’s important to note that diversion programs are only available to you if you have not pleaded guilty to the offense you are suspected of.
Are Diversion Programs Always an Option in Minnesota?
Though Minnesota law requires each county in the state to maintain an active diversion program, not all counties are in compliance with the rule. If your county does not have a formal diversion program in place, your defense attorney may be able to negotiate an individualized scheme with the public prosecutor.
Diversion Programs for Minnesota Drivers
Drivers who have committed certain traffic violations, or who have been apprehended driving following the suspension or revocation of their licenses, may be eligible for diversion in Minnesota. For those in the latter situation, the program will likely involve the establishment of a payment plan for any outstanding driving-related fines; the authorities may agree to a provisional reinstatement of your license while you’re making repayments. For traffic offenses, diversion programs usually involve an instruction course on the rules of the road. Passing a test at the end of this course generally leads to the completion of the diversion program.
If your driving offense involved an accident, you may not be eligible to participate in a diversion program.
Getting Help From a Minnesota DWI Attorney
Diversion programs aren’t available in every case, but, where the option is open to you, it can be an excellent alternative to traditional criminal justice procedures. A defense lawyer will be able to tell you everything you need to know about how diversion might work in your case and make contact with the prosecutor to negotiate your entry to a program if you decide to explore that route.
Whether you’re curious about a Minnesota diversion program or you have an issue related to a driving infraction or another type of criminal offense, we can help. Contact us today to set up a free initial consultation.