A criminal arrest can be one of the most stressful and scary moments of a person’s life. As criminal defense lawyers, we often receive calls from clients who are desperate to avoid going to jail and fearful of the potential consequences. Luckily for many of those clients, the criminal justice system as a whole has begun to move away from harsh punishments and incarceration for first time offenders and those charged with certain non violent offenses. If you have been charged with a crime and you are worried about what is going to happen to you, you should contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer immediately to discuss your options.
As the criminal justice system has become more progressive, the State Attorneys Offices, in collaboration with defense attorneys and law enforcement, have begun to implement many different diversion programs for certain defendants. If your case qualifies for entry into a diversion program and you successfully complete the requirements, you may become eligible for significant reduction of charges or even an outright dismissal of your case. In any case, it is important to consult with a lawyer to determine whether you qualify for a program and if so, whether the program is the best choice for you.Pre Trial Intervention
Pre-trial intervention has become the most common type of diversion program throughout the state of Florida. Pre-trial intervention is typically offered to defendants who are facing a non-violent misdemeanor or third degree felony offense. The prosecution will also usually require that the defendant have no prior convictions for any criminal offense within the country. The application process is simple and your lawyer can walk you through the procedure if you qualify.
The requirements of the intervention program will vary depending on the charge that you are facing. For example, for a charge of possession of a controlled substance, you might be required to undergo random drug testing and attend addiction counseling. For a theft case, you might be required to provide community service. If you qualify for a domestic violence diversion program, you will often be required to complete an anger management course.
Successful completion of one of these pre trial intervention programs will often result in a complete dismissal of your case. For many defendants, a dismissal through the pretrial diversion program will be the best path for their case. Just because a diversion program is available, does not mean that it is necessarily the best option for you. You should speak to an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer before making such an important decision.Drug Court
Drug court is a diversion program aimed specifically at drug offenders. The drug court program here in Pinellas county is a treatment based program with a goal to rehabilitate non-violent drug offenders instead of simply sending them to jail or putting them on probation where they are likely to relapse or fail.
Pinellas’ drug court program lasts 18 to 24 months depending on the specific charges and other circumstances. Entry and successful completion of the drug court treatment program will result in dismissal of your case. Many willing clients have found drug court to be a positive experience and statistics have shown that offenders completing drug court programs have a far lower chance of reoffending.Veterans Court
With the proliferation of pre-trial intervention programs, the powers that be in the criminal justice system and the legislature wanted to create a program specifically tailored to veterans. Veterans undergo stresses that the rest of us cannot even imagine, especially those that have experienced combat and multiple overseas deployments. Because veterans have a higher chance of suffering from post traumatic stress and other mental health issues, veterans courts have been instituted for those veterans who have been charged with a crime. If you are charged with a crime and are a veteran who received an honorable discharge or are an active duty servicemember, you will likely qualify for veterans court where you can get your case dismissed.Retain a Skilled Defense Attorney Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law have the experience to determine whether your case qualifies for a diversion program. We are prepared to advise you of all of your options and whether a pre-trial intervention is right for your case. Call the experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers at Hanlon Law today at (727) 897-5413.