Diversion Programs in Hillsborough County, FL
The State Attorney's Office in Hillsborough County uses several different diversion programs to divert criminal cases away from the courts in Tampa and Plant City, FL. Entering diversion is not the best option if you are innocent of the underlying offense or the state can't prove the accusation beyond all reasonable doubt.
Completing the sanctions imposed in the diversion programs can be extremely time consuming and expensive. If you are a professional with a license to do your job, entering a diversion program might be considered an admission that you were guilty of the underlying offense.
For example, the handbook for many county school boards in Florida provide that a teach or educator must self-report entering any type of "diversion program" within forty-eight ( 48) hours to appropriate authorities (as determined by district), even if the teacher was not required to report the arrest or the filing of charges.
If you are rejected from the diversion program because you are not eligible or because you fail to meet one of the special conditions, then the prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office will file a request for a new court date that provides:
"This is to advise that the above-referenced defendant has been rejected from the Misdemeanor Intervention Program (MIP). Please schedule for arraignment and issue a summons for the defendant to the update address on file."
If you are considering entering a diversion program but are concerned about the impact it will have on your career or if you have been rejected from PTI, MIP or another diversion program in Tampa, FL, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We can help you fight the charges aggressively so that you can fight for the best result in your case. Call 813-250-0500 today.
Types of Diversion Programs in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
The different types of diversion programs that are used in the Thirteen Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County at both the Plant City and the Tampa Courthouse include the following:
- The DUI Diversion Initiative (RIDR) - Beginning March 1, 2018, anyone arrested for a first and non-aggravated form of DUI in Hillsborough County can be considered for a diversion program known as the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism ("RIDR"). The DUI diversion program only applies at the sole discretion of the State Attorney's Office after a first-time DUI arrest when there is no disqualifying criminal record, the BAC is .20 or lower, no children were in the vehicle, and no crash or property damage occurred. If you enter the program you must agree to complete all of the standard terms for a first DUI conviction plus enhanced sanctions (installing an ignition interlock device, SCRAM monitor, or drug patch). In exchange, the prosecutor will reduce the DUI to reckless driving and let you enter a plea for 12 months and a withhold of adjudication. The withhold of adjudication means that you might be eligible to seal your criminal history report after probation is completed successfully.
- Misdemeanor Intervention Program (MIP) -
- MIP gives a person accused of a first offense an opportunity after the arrest or notice to appear is issued to accept responsibility for their actions, seek rehabilitation, and divert their cases from the criminal court system.
- The misdemeanor intervention program in Hillsborough County is administered and supervised by the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office Probation for this judicial circuit. Eligibility requirements and approval for entry into the MIP program can be determined at the arraignment.
- Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) -
- The PTI program is a post-arrest diversion program operated by the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC). The purpose of the PTI program is to afford first-time felony offenders the opportunity to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction by diverting their case from the trial court process after an arrest. Defendants charged with a qualifying third degree felony may be approved for this program.
- Domestic Violence Intervention (DVIP) -
- The DVIP program was created for men and women accused of domestic violence. The program is designed to reverse the cycle of domestic violence and keeping the family unit intact.
- This program requires the alleged offender to complete a 26 week Batterer's Intervention Program, as well as a substance abuse evaluation and/or other recommended treatment if deemed necessary.
- To complete the program, the defendant must enter a guilty plea to the charges in order to participate in this eight month program.
- If the defendant successfully completes the program, the plea will be vacated and the case will be nolle prossed (dropped). This allows the offender to then apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in a separate proceeding to seal or expunge their criminal record if otherwise legally eligible.
- Eligibility for the Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Program includes the offenses of Battery, Assault, Stalking, Criminal Mischief and Disorderly Conduct. Those domestic violence offenses are not eligible or the adult pre-arrest diversion program (APAD).
- Whether the criminal charge is eligible for diversion is determined by the State Attorney’s Office on a case by case basis dependent upon the facts surrounding the charge.
- Eligibility for the domestic violence diversion program requires that the defendant has no prior adult felony arrests and/or convictions and not more than one prior conviction for a non-violent misdemeanor crime.
- A defendant is only permitted to participate in this program once in a lifetime. Additionally, the victim must consent to the defendant's participation in this program.
- DWLS Diversion Program -
- The DWLS (Driving While License Suspended) Program is designed to promote public safety, to encourage drivers to drive safely with a valid driver's license and with appropriate insurance coverage, and to satisfy their financial obligations.
- Eligible defendants charged with Driving While License Suspended, upon completion of the program, will have the charge changed to the criminal charge of Driving with No Valid Driver’s License (No Valid D.L.).
- There is an application fee that must be paid within 30 days of application to the Office of the State Attorney, in addition to any of the costs of supervision that must be paid to the program.
This article was last updated on Thursday, March 1, 2018.