What Is Judicial Diversion?

When a loved one faces a felony charge, it can be difficult to have hope, as most people are unsure what consequences are on the horizon. It’s even harder to face when drug or alcohol addiction are a factor in the accused person’s life. This is why it’s incredibly important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can, to learn what options you have for possibly reducing your charges and getting a chance at a better future. If you meet certain conditions, alternatives to incarceration may be available.

The Judicial Diversion Program was created to provide assistance to those with felony convictions who are battling substance addictions. New York State recognizes that many offenders commit crimes because of mitigating circumstances like drug addiction and alcohol abuse. The program aims to provide New York State residents who have been charged with non-violent felony offenses with access to drug or alcohol treatment, possibly avoiding jail time or probation in the process.

If you abuse alcohol or drugs and are eligible for the program, you’ll be appointed a case manager, who will work with you to build a treatment plan. While you are in treatment, a judge will closely monitor your progress. If the program participant successfully completes the Judicial Diversion Program, they may even be able to have their felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor or, in some cases, their charges may be dismissed.

How Can I Get Judicial Diversion?

The Judicial Diversion Program is designed for defendants with drug or alcohol dependency issues who face non-violent felony charges in the state of New York. Therefore, eligibility is largely based upon whether or not the individual in question has an active drug or alcohol dependency problem, the degree of crime they committed, and their New York residency status.

If you have been convicted of a violent felony offense, a class-A controlled substance felony, or have other mitigating conditions, you will likely be found ineligible for the Judicial Diversion Program.

If you are an eligible defendant for the program, you must formally request to participate in the program. The court will then request for a substance abuse evaluation to be conducted by a treatment team, who will then determine if you’re a good fit for the program based on the history of your abuse and the nature of the crime you are accused of.

If you’ve been found eligible for Judicial Diversion after the evaluation, the court still has the final say regarding whether or not you will be accepted into the program. Acceptance into the program relies on several factors, such as:

  • The extent of the defendant’s danger to the public
  • The severity of substance abuse dependency
  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • How dependency has impacted the defendant’s criminal behavior

How Do I Know If Judicial Diversion Is Right For Me?

Your criminal defense attorney will weigh the pros and cons of the impact the Judicial Diversion Program will have on your case, helping determine if the program suits you.

Typically, a defendant is required to plead guilty to a felony charge in order to be considered a candidate for the Judicial Diversion Program. When you plead guilty, you forego any potential defenses to the charge in the future, so this may not always be the best option for your case.

Additionally, Judicial Diversion can require a multi-year commitment to the program and, while participating in the program, the treatment team has total scrutiny over the guidelines of your treatment. If they find you unfit to continue the program, you may be removed at any time.

The penalties for a felony conviction can vary depending on the class of felony offense, but Judicial Diversion is widely regarded as a more favorable penalty than a standard incarceration sentence.

Schedule A Free Consultation With The Law Firm of Gianni Karmily If You Or A Loved One Is Facing A Felony Charge

If you’ve been charged with a felony, you have options. Judicial Diversion may be a powerful tool for moving forward after facing a criminal charge, and the right lawyer will guide you through the process.

As your New York criminal defense attorney, Gianni Karmily’s goal is to help you reach the best possible outcome in your case. This may mean aggressively negotiating with the state to arrange a plea bargain on your behalf. Or, it could mean taking your case to trial and winning an acquittal.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the Law Firm of Gianni Karmily to learn if Judicial Diversion is right for your case.