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Understanding the Pretrial Diversion Program


Not everyone who faces arrest will necessarily have to go to trial. For some offenses, there is a pretrial diversion program that allows the person of interest to seek an alternative to jail.

There are different types of offenses that are eligible for diversion programs, and the defendants will see a dismissal of charges if they complete the program successfully.

Information About Pretrial Diversion Programs

According to the United States Probation and Pretrial Services, Northern District of Texas, pretrial diversion occurs during the pre-charge phase or at some point before the trial starts. The program is an alternative to the criminal justice process, and it consists of a variety of services that the U.S. Probation Service supervises.

The program is voluntary and is available for adults and juveniles. Its purpose is to prevent juveniles from becoming lifetime criminals, to provide restitution to crime victims and to save resources for major cases. There is a dismissal of charges for those who complete the program. Those who do not complete the program return for prosecution and go through the traditional process.

Types of Specialized Courts

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas has a number of specialized treatment courts that provide defendants with various services. These courts address the needs of defendants who:

  • Are facing drug charges
  • Have a substance abuse problem
  • Have mental health needs
  • Are active military members or veterans

There are also specialty courts and diversion programs for those facing charges for prostitution, property damage, gambling and specific weapon offenses.

Types of Diversion Services

Depending on the type of offense and other factors, the services offered by the program may vary. Some diversion services include job training, intensive substance abuse treatment, graduated sanctions and awards, education and close court monitoring.