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Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion APAD

For most misdemeanor cases, the officer that investigates the offense will either:

  • make an arrest;
  • issue a Notice to Appear in court; or
  • refer the case to the State Attorney's Office.

Beginning on Saturday, June 30, 2017, adults that come into contact with deputies in the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office may be able to avoid an arrest for certain misdemeanors committed in Hillsborough County by admitting their crime on the spot and agreeing to enter the Adult Pre-trial Diversion program (called "APAD").

The State Attorney's Office recently announced that the program has been extended to allow every law enforcement agency in Hillsborough County to participate, including Tampa Police Department, Plant City Police Department, Temple Terrace Police Department, USF Police Department and the Tampa International Airport Police Department.

For the APAD in Hillsborough County, HCSO deputies have wide discretion to either offer a diversion program on the spot or make an arrest. The benefits of entering APAD is being able to avoid many of the collateral consequences of an arrest while accepting responsibility. The program is intended to help people learn from the actions that lead to the criminal allegations so that no future crimes occur.

The problem is APAD is that it circumvents the court system and all of the constitutional safeguards. For instance, a person has a right to remain silent. The officer should not be making a promise or threat in order to get a confession. But as a practical matter, if a person doesn't confess, then the person is not eligible to complete the program. Although pre-arrest diversion is allowed for juveniles, Florida law does not expressly allow pre-arrest diversion for adults. Many fear that this new program will simply "widen the net" of people being brought into the system.

The proponents of the program argue that it creates a way for many adults to avoid an arrest by entering the program. Although the program is not for everyone, in some cases, APAD is a good way for a person to avoid an arrest and possible conviction if the person is actually guilty of the offense.

APAD is a pre-arrest diversion program for first-time misdemeanor participants who are 18 years old or older at the time of the offense. Successfully completing APAD allows the adult to accept responsibility for his or her actions while avoiding an arrest and judicial record of the offense. The program is administered by the HCSO Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU).

Attorneys for APAD in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm do NOT represent adults who have already agreed to enter APAD. If you agree to enter APAD then you do not need an attorney. To enter APAD, the adult participants must be:

  • be referred to APAD if the offense being investigated is an Eligible Offense;
  • the participant must meet the Eligibility Criteria under this Agreement; and
  • the participant consents to participate in APAD.

If you do not successfully complete the program, then you can be terminated from APAD. After being terminated from APAD, a direct file packet will be prepared and forwarded to the State Attorney's Office within seven (7) business days of termination from APAD. Then the State Attorney's Office can determine whether to prosecute the case or not.

If you are rejected from APAD, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can contact the State Attorney's Office to show reasons why the case should not be prosecuted. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm help clients who are rejected or terminated from the Pre-Arrest Diversion Program (ADAP). Call an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options when resolving your criminal case.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm help clients who are rejected or terminated from the Pre-Arrest Diversion Program (ADAP). Call an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options when resolving your criminal case.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


Why was the Pre-Arrest Diversion Program (APAD) Created in Hillsborough County?

The Pre-Arrest Diversion Program (APAD) in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, FL, was created through an Inter-Agency Agreement. The State Attorney's Office, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the Clerk of Court, and the Public Defender's Office all entered the agreement.

The purpose of ADAP is to "achieve the maximum degree of long-range cooperation in order to ensure the efficient, effective and consistent use of an adult pre-arrest diversion program, while promoting the best long-term outcomes for participants and community safety."


 Pros and Cons of Entering a Pre-Arrest Diversion Program

If you participate in the APAD program then you will not be booked into the county jail or issued a “Notice to Appear.” The benefits of avoiding an arrest or notice to appear include:

  • no entry about your case will appear on the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) website;
  • the public can read about your case on the clerk of court website;
  • an entry about the case will not appear on the FCIC rap sheet maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE); and
  • an entry about the case will not appear on the NCIC rap sheet maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Nevertheless, the record might be obtained through a public records request to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office or the agency that issued not "notice of referral" to APAD. Also, many professionals will be required to disclose the case during a licensure application process because it constitutes "contact with law enforcement."


Eligible Offenses for the Purpose of Entering ADAP

Only people accused of eligible offenses are eligible to enter ADAP. Multiple eligible offenses arising out of a single incident may be referred to APAD. Offenses that are eligible for ADAP including petit theft, retail theft, shoplifting, and possession of marijuana.

The agreement that created the Pre-Arrest Adult Diversion Program defines the term “eligible offense” to mean all misdemeanor offenses and criminal violation of county ordinances except the following:

The following offenses are eligible for ADAP on a discretionary basis:

  • Resisting or Opposing an Officer Without Violence (Fla. Stat. §843.02) (DISCRETIONARY);
  • Disorderly Intoxication (Fla. Stat. §856.011) (DISCRETIONARY);
  • Loitering or Prowling (Fla. Stat. §856.021) (DISCRETIONARY);
  • Misuse of 911 (Fla. Stat. §365.172) (DISCRETIONARY);

Eligibility Criteria for ADAP

As set out in the ADAP agreement, the eligibility criteria include the following requirements:

  1. The participant must admit to the offense and consent to participate in APAD;
  2. The participant must agree to make restitution to the victim, if any;
  3. The participant must not present a risk to the safety of others or himself or herself, if not arrested;
  4. The participant must have sufficient ties to the community to ensure that he or she will report as directed to APAD intake and that he or she will remain or return to the community to successfully complete APAD;
  5. The participant must not have any prior felony or misdemeanor convictions, including any prior Driving Under the Influence convictions.
  6. A withhold of adjudication is considered a conviction for purposes of APAD.
  7. The participant must not have any felony arrests.
  8. The participant must not have a misdemeanor arrest within two years preceding the current offense.
  9. Prior traffic convictions (excluding D.U.I.) or prior adjudications of delinquency will not disqualify a participant from participating in APAD; and
  10. The participant must not have participated in APAD within two years preceding the current offense or more than two previous times in his or her lifetime.

The law enforcement agencies in Hillsborough County will be creating internal policies and standard operating procedures setting forth guidelines for issuing and/or processing adults referred to APAD as an alternative to placing an adult under arrest for Eligible Offenses.

Criminal defense attorneys in Tampa, FL, expect the list that over time, the list of Eligible Offenses may be modified or amended in the future. To some extent, the law enforcement officers can manipulate the charges to make them eligible or not eligible for ADAP.


ADAP Cases with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

The ADAP agreement provides that when a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) comes into contact with a person and probable cause exist that the person has committed an offense on the list of Eligible Offenses, then the deputy is permitted to use his or her wide discretion to determine if participation in APAD is appropriate.

If the deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office believes participation in APAD may be appropriate, the deputy must then determine if the participant meets the eligibility criteria. To determine whether a participant meets the Eligibility Criteria, the deputy will check the participant's criminal history to determine prior convictions and will also determine if the person has previously participated in APAD by contacting the HCSO Records Transcription Unit (RTU). If eligible, the deputy will then explain APAD and its requirements to the participant to ascertain the participant's willingness to participate.

To determine whether a participant meets the Eligibility Criteria, the deputy will check the participant's criminal history to determine prior convictions and will also determine if the person has previously participated in APAD by contacting the HCSO Records Transcription Unit (RTU). If eligible, the deputy will then explain APAD and its requirements to the participant to ascertain the participant's willingness to participate.

If the participant elects to participate then the deputy shall not make an arrest, issue a Notice to Appear, or refer the case to the State Attorney's Office. Instead, the deputy shall prepare a Criminal Report Affidavit ("CRA") in accordance with HCSO internal policies and standard operating procedures and will indicate the participant has elected to participate in APAD.

The participant will then be asked to sign the CRA indicating his or her willingness to participate in APAD. The deputy will forward a copy of the CRA to the HCSO Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU), within twenty-four (24) hours.

The CRA and a copy of the offense report will be forwarded to the MPU within seventy-two (72) hours. The HCSO deputy shall complete his or her investigation and report pursuant to HCSO's Standard Operating Procedures.

After signing the CRA, the participant must appear in person at the MPU within three (3) business days of the offense. If the participant fails to contact the MPU within that time period, a direct file packet will be prepared and forwarded to the State Attorney's Office. The ADAP program will be administered by the HCSO Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU).


The Process with MPU to Complete ADAP

The Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU) of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) will maintain the original CRA until successful completion of APAD or termination from the program. The MPU will assign a case manager to each participant who contacts the MPU and will request the Clerk of the Circuit Court ("Clerk") to create a non-reportable case for each participant enrolled in APAD. The case manager will conduct an intake appointment and review the terms and conditions of APAD.

The MPU will assign a case manager to each participant who contacts the MPU and will request the Clerk of the Circuit Court ("Clerk") to create a non-reportable case for each participant enrolled in APAD. The case manager will conduct an intake appointment and review the terms and conditions of APAD.

The terms and conditions of the adult diversion program will be provided to the participant in writing and will include the requirements for:

  • community service hours and fees, and, if appropriate;
  • educational programs;
  • counseling or treatment;
  • restitution; or
  • other special conditions.

Other programs, counseling, or sanctions that the MPU may determine to be appropriate include, but are not limited to:

  • letter of apology to victim(s);
  • no contact with victim(s);
  • shoplifter awareness;
  • substance abuse awareness;
  • anger management classes; or
  • conflict resolution classes.

If the participant agrees to the terms and conditions, the case manager will prepare a Participant Agreement setting forth the obligations of the participant and the timeframe for completion of those obligations. If the participant fails to appear for his or her intake appointment or does not agree to the terms and conditions of the Participant Agreement, the participant will be terminated from APAD. A direct file packet will be prepared and forwarded to the State Attorney's Office within seven (7) business days of termination from APAD.

If the participant fails to appear for his or her intake appointment or does not agree to the terms and conditions of the Participant Agreement, the participant will be terminated from APAD. A direct file packet will be prepared and forwarded to the State Attorney's Office within seven (7) business days of termination from APAD.

If the Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU) determines the person does not meet the Eligibility Criteria for an Eligible Offense, the participant will be terminated from APAD. A direct file packet will be prepared and forwarded to the State Attorney's Office within seven (7) business days of termination from APAD.

Community service hours will be performed at locations that have received prior approval by the MPU. All participants shall complete sixteen (16) hours of community service. At the discretion of the caseworker, the MPU may extend the time frame for completion of the community service hours, upon an adequate showing of need.


Restitution in ADAP

If applicable, the participant will be required to pay restitution. The participant will provide payment to the Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU) in Hillsborough County, who will provide the Clerk's Office with a remittance form. The Clerk's Office will then provide restitution to the victim.

Other programs, counseling, or sanctions that the MPU may determine to be appropriate include, but are not limited to:

  • letter of apology to victim(s);
  • no contact with victim(s);
  • shoplifter awareness;
  • substance abuse awareness;
  • anger management classes; or
  • conflict resolution classes.

The participant will agree to commit no new law violations while participating in APAD.


Being Terminated from the Adult Diversion Pre-Arrest Program

Any participant who fails to satisfactorily complete all terms and conditions of the Participant Agreement within one hundred and twenty (120) days of enrollment will be unsuccessfully terminated from the program. A direct file packet will be prepared and forwarded to the State Attorney's Office within seven (7) business days of the termination from APAD.


Benefits of Entering an Adult Diversion Program in Hillsborough County, FL

If the participant successfully completes the terms and conditions of APAD, the HCSO Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU) will issue a letter of satisfactory completion to the participant. The case will be closed without any further action or referral for prosecution.


Statistics on the Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program in Hillsborough County, FL

When a participant completes APAD, successfully or unsuccessfully, the MPU will notify the Clerk to close the non-reportable case in the case management system. In order to track the overall performance of APAD, HCSO will prepare monthly reports containing statistical information relating to cases referred to APAD, including:

  • The number of referrals by month;
  • The status of cases referred;
  • The offenses referred;
  • Demographics relating to participants referred;
  • The number of cases that are successfully completed;
  • The number of terminations; and
  • Sanctions completed.

The reports showing the statistical information for ADAP will be provided to the parties of the APAD agreement. On a monthly basis, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) will also provide the State Attorney's Office in Tampa, FL, with a list of participants referred for prosecution and their agency report numbers.


 APAD and the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa, FL

The State Attorney's Office ("SAO") in Tampa, FL, for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit will accept direct file cases on participants who have been rejected or terminated from APAD. The SAO shall review those direct files to determine the appropriate disposition of the criminal charges, which may include filing an Information charging the participant with a criminal offense or declining to prosecute.

Termination from APAD or prior successful completion of APAD on an unrelated charge will not automatically disqualify a participant from participating in another diversion program such as the Misdemeanor Intervention Program.


APAD and the Clerk of Circuit Court

After receiving notice from the Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU) that a participant has been accepted in APAD, the Clerk of Circuit Court for the Thirteen Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County agrees to create a non-reportable shell case in the Clerk's case maintenance system. The case type will be non-reportable while the person is participating in APAD for the purpose of tracking the funds associated with APAD case.

The Clerk will close the case in the Clerk's case maintenance system upon receiving notice from the MPU that the participant has either successfully or unsuccessfully completed the program. The Clerk of Court's Office will assess, collect and disburse funds associated to the program and will retain fifteen dollars ($15 .00) per case for services.

The participants of the adult pre-arrest diversion program include Andrew Warren for the State Attorney’s Office (SAO), Pat Frank for the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Chief Legal Counsel of HCSO, the Public Defender’s Office in Tampa, FL.


Additional Resources

HCSO Misdemeanor Probation Unit (MPU) - Effective October 1, 2015, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) will provide supervision and rehabilitation services to misdemeanor probationers and the Clerk of the Court (Clerk) will process all misdemeanor probation financial transactions and disburse fines and court costs paid by probationers.

Juvenile Diversion Programs in Hillsborough County - The State Attorney’s Office also operates separate pre-arrest diversion programs for juveniles charged with misdemeanor or third-degree felony offenses. Those diversion programs can be offered either prior to a detention or after a detention.

Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program in Pinellas County (APAD) - Visit the website of criminal defense attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL, to learn more about the ADAP in Pinellas County. Find eligibility requirements, eligible offenses, requirements to successfully complete the program, and reasons you might be terminated from ADAP.


Attorneys Explain Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Programs in Tampa, FL

Florida currently provides several options for a person who is alleged to have committed specified criminal offenses to participate in diversion. These diversion programs include both post-arrest/pre-trial intervention programs and post-arrest/pre-trial diversion programs.

One form of pre-arrest diversion authorized under Florida law is the civil citation program where a law enforcement officer is permitted to:  

  • issue a civil citation to an individual who commits an eligible misdemeanor offense;
  • meets other eligibility requirements; and
  • agrees to participate in and successfully complete a program.
  • completes special conditions.

Call us to find out more about the pros and cons of the new APAD program in Tampa, FL. We can represent you if you agree to enter the APAD program and then are rejected or terminated from the program for some reason.

Call 813-250-0500 to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

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