Navigating the Innovative Texas Pretrial Diversion Program

All around the world, many people may commit crimes due to unfortunate factors like societal pressure, lack of job opportunities, high unemployment rates, poverty, family issues, and negative environmental upbringing.

What’s even worse is making one mistake and ending up behind bars as a first-time offender. With no prior experience with the criminal justice system, you might feel disoriented and anxious about your future. However, there is hope. The Texas Criminal Defense Groups can help protect your rights and legal status, especially through the Pretrial Diversion Program.

This program offers first-time offenders a chance to avoid conviction under certain conditions, as outlined in Texas Government Code Sec. 76.011. Here are some key points about the Pretrial Diversion Program you should know.

A Brief Overview of the Texas Pretrial Diversion Program 

Before the Pretrial Diversion (PTD) Program in Texas, people charged with crimes went through the traditional criminal justice process, which often led to imprisonment and long-term consequences like difficulty finding employment. The PTD Program was introduced as an alternative, offering eligible individuals a chance to avoid prosecution by completing a structured rehabilitation program. This program helps participants stay out of prison, avoiding prosecution while holding them accountable and providing strategies, training, and community-related assistance to prevent future crimes.

Participation in the PTD Program is entirely voluntary. The court will not accept defendants for PTD unless they acknowledge their crime. Legal assistance is encouraged to increase offenders’ chances of being approved for diversion. Once accepted, an agreement contract outlining the defendant’s specific duties and requirements will be provided.

This program provides a chance for eligible offenders to avoid jail, keep their criminal records clean, and get back on track.

How do I Qualify for the PTD Program?

For pretrial diversion consideration, an individual must undergo a process of application and evaluation. This usually involves meeting with a probation officer, who assesses whether the person qualifies for the program. Although the requirements for eligibility differ by jurisdiction, most courts consider a few standard criteria:

  • Must be first-time offenders.
  • There is no history of participation in a previous Pretrial Diversion Program.
  • Involvement only in misdemeanor crimes.
  • Offense not related to violence (including domestic violence) or of a sexual nature (unless the charge is prostitution).
  • Not a gang member.

They may ask about the person’s

  • Individual’s personal background
  • Employment status
  • History of substance abuse or mental health issues
  • And other personal details.

It is important to give accurate information at this stage so the probation service can decide if the person is eligible for pretrial diversion.

What are the Conditions to Accomplish Pretrial Diversion in Texas?

The requirements of each PTD program will change based on the charges and rehabilitative needs of the individual. Each offender’s program is tailored to match his or her specific crime and needs. But here are some of the required conditions to be accomplished to successfully complete the program:

  • Avoid illegal activities or additional crimes.
  • Pay fines or fees that are required.
  • Attend counseling sessions required by the court.
  • Get mental health care and submit to a mental health assessment.
  • Attend your probation officer’s scheduled visits.
  • Regular pre-trial diversion drug testing.
  • Complies with the required community service hours.

How Does Pretrial Diversion Affect the Criminal Record?

Many people think that finishing a Pretrial Diversion (PTD) program means the charge is completely wiped from their record, but this isn’t true.

Even if your case is dismissed through pretrial diversion, the criminal charge will still appear on a background check. Pretrial diversion does NOT automatically remove the arrest from your record. However, successfully completing a pretrial diversion or intervention program may make you eligible to expunge your criminal record.

Expunction, or the process of clearing your criminal charges, involves filing a civil lawsuit. Should the judge approve your appeal, all records of the arrest will be totally wiped out.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

Even though applying to Texas Pretrial Diversion Program may resolve a non-violent criminal case, it’s crucial to fully grasp how the program operates and how to secure approval to join the program.

If you or your loved one face criminal charges in Texas as a first-time offender, avoid navigating the judicial system alone. At Texas Criminal Defense Group, our knowledgeable and very hands-on attorneys are available to assist you. We’ll guide you through recognizing your legal rights and building a strong defense. Contact us now for a consultation, and allow us to defend your rights!