Think Twice About a Diversion

Once in a while, you get a great balance of justice and mercy happening in the criminal justice system. While rare, it does happen now and then, benefiting the participants.

There are cases where a defendant has no prior criminal record; and, who has committed what is considered to be a minor offense, is offered a compromise that avoids a criminal record. This, of course, can be a major plus for both the criminal justice system and the defendant. Think money saved instead of spending time in prison.

These compromises are called diversions, which means the offender is diverted out of the system for a time. Over a period of usually a year, the defendant is undergoing treatment, counseling, and making restitution to those they harmed. They may also have to complete some type of community service.

The person “doing time” this way is closely monitored, and if they are able to meet all the conditions of the diversion terms — pay all their fines, court costs, and keep their noses clean — the case is dropped. At the end of this process, there’s no criminal record, a relief for those participating whom genuinely were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

While diversions sound like an answer to a heartfelt prayer, they do have their drawbacks. To get the diversion the person has to plead guilty. If they commit a crime during their diversion year or get into any other legal hassles, they are automatically found guilty because of their diversion plea.

This is a tricky situation and if the defendant does make one mistake, or be “accused” of doing something wrong, the diversion is revoked. Since the guilty plea is already on the books, conviction is pretty much a done deal.

So what are you supposed to do if you are innocent? You need to have a serious heart-to-heart talk with your criminal defense lawyer. They are the ones who will help you negotiate a diversion, but if you are innocent and can prove it, you might want to think twice about this route.

Jeremiah Denslow is a Dayton Divorce Lawyer in Dayton Ohio with Denslow Law Firm. The firm specializes in family law. Jeremiah also practices Dayton criminal defense. To learn more, visit

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