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Pre-trial & First Offender Diversion Programs

Florida Pretrial & First Offender Diversion programs are possible in some case. Generally speaking. In a diversion program, a client agrees to abide by the terms of a contract with the state attorney’s office for a period of time (usually 6 months to1 year)

And to stay out of legal trouble. At the end of the contract, the charges against the client are dismissed.

Florida cases that are not suitable for Florida diversion programs include:

  • Florida felony sex offenses
  • Florida DUI/BUI cases
  • Florida cases where the client has a prior record in any state, not just Florida (there are exceptions to this general rule )
  • Florida felony case where the client would score more than 44 points under the Florida Punishment Code (Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.992(a)

There are also special diversion programs such as Florida’s Mental Health Court (mostly misdemeanor offenses) and Florida’s Drug Court Program. These programs involve intensive counseling and we sometimes recommend alternative such as our One Stop Therapy program. Why? Drug court is not as effective as it could due to the lack of advanced diagnostic procedures needed to evaluate brain illnesses. Drug and alcohol problems frequently are the result off self medication due to pre-existing organic chemical imbalances of the brain. Think of it this way: Can counseling alone cure a broken arm? Of course not. Yet each year, thousands of people will go through Florida’s Drug Court programs and will be drug fee-as long as the threat of jail or prison for testing positive is hanging over their head. Once they leave the program, it’s like a broken arm that doesn’t hurt as bad: the arm is still broken, and medical treatment is still needed. Talk therapy alone will not fix many drug and alcohol problems, and this is why so many people are fed up with ‘rehab’ talk therapy-it often doesn’t work because the program did not diagnose the patient correctly.

NOTE: The Florida State Attorney’s Office will almost never offer you a First offender of Pretrial Diversion Program as a first settlement offer. After all, being ‘tough on crime’ is part of every elected State Attorney’s political campaign. Florida diversion programs are usually the end result of a long and complicated negotiation process. An experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer is your best hope to get a diversion program. After all, if you needed a heart bypass, you would need an experienced heart surgeon: you wouldn’t operate on yourself.

Florida Misdemeanor & Felony Case Pretrial Diversion Programs
Reductions or substitutions in charge from greater charges to lesser offenses
Florida Punishment Code Departure Sentences
One Stop Therapy Program


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