Admission into the diversion program requires STRICT compliance with its policy/procedure. The program is created by the DA’s office, so it alone determines minimum eligibility requirements for obtaining the District Attorney’s approval for the entry of an offender into the Collin County District Attorney’s Diversion Program (“Diversion Program”) supervised by the Collin County Community Supervision and Corrections Division. To be eligible, the offender must freely admit guilt, be willing to complete all of the terms of the Diversion Program (the Agreement & the Conditions Form), and refrain from any further criminal activity.
WHAT IS DIVERSION?
The Diversion Program is a voluntary program for an offender charged with a criminal offense. An arrest can only be removed from your criminal record by a dismissal of all charges or acquittal at trial. This program trades dismissal for rehab efforts in a rigid probation program. Pursuant to Government Code Sec. 76.011, offenders who complete the program avoid prosecution for their arrest. The Diversion Program only accepts certain types of criminal offenses, and each referral must go through an assessment prior to being accepted into the program. The Diversion Program does not accept referrals for violent crimes, domestic violence, sexual-offender-related crimes, or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or related offenses. Exceptions may be approved by the Diversion Prosecutor..
You can’t be admitted if you have any previous convictions
The offender should have no prior adult felony convictions and no prior convictions for violent misdemeanors. Arrest history, as well as final disposition of charges, will be reviewed and considered. Exceptions may be approved by the Diversion Prosecutor.
PAST JUVENILE OFFENSE HISTORY may result in you not being accepted.
If an offender is twenty-five (25) years old or less and possesses a juvenile record of criminal offenses indicative of disregard for criminal laws, the offender may be disqualified for entry into the Diversion Program based on this record. Exceptions may be approved by the Diversion Prosecutor.
The criminal offense for which the offender has been arrested or charged must be a non-violent criminal offense. The District Attorney may preclude entry into the Diversion Program for any reason, including the circumstances of the offense.
Charges eligible for the Diversion Program include, but are not limited to:
- Burglary (non-habitation)
- Burglary tools possession
- Drug possession, including obtaining by fraud, forged prescription
- Fraud (e.g., forgery, credit/financial device use/possession)
- Criminal Mischief
- Tampering with evidence or Tampering with a Governmental Record
In exceptional circumstances, other offenses may be considered for the Diversion Program after review and approval by the Diversion Prosecutor.
If a person or persons suffered monetary loss as a direct result of the commission of the offense for which the offender was arrested/charged, the offender must be ready, willing, and able to make full restitution, and such restitution shall be a specific condition of the offender’s entry into the Diversion Program. Amendments to the restitution payment timeline may be granted by the Diversion Prosecutor.
WAIVER OF RIGHTS TO SPEEDY TRIAL REQUIRED
To be considered for entry into the Program, upon applying for entry into the Program and prior to any further processing of such application, the offender must voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently execute a document stating that he/she has been fully advised of his/her Constitutional Rights, including, but not limited to, the right to remain silent regarding the facts and circumstances related to the offense for which the offender has been arrested/charged. This document must also state that the offender has waived the right to a Speedy Trial on the said offense for the period of time required for a final decision regarding the Application. In the event the offender is accepted into the Diversion Program, the offender waives his/her right to a Speedy Trial until the offender is terminated from the program, whether satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily. The offender’s attorney shall be required to confirm that he/she has also advised the offender of these same rights.
SWORN ADMISSION OF GUILT REQUIRED
Upon applying for entry into the Diversion Program and prior to any further processing of such application, the offender must voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently execute a signed and sworn typed statement relating the facts and circumstance of the offense for which the offender has been arrested/charged. The application will be rejected if, in the sole discretion of the District Attorney, the offender’s factual statement must admit guilt for the charged offense. The words “admit guilt” are not required, but the statement must be sufficiently detailed so that the acceptance of guilt is obvious.
If the offender is not accepted into the Diversion Program, for any reason, the provided statement will not be used as evidence against the offender in the State’s case in the event of trial on these charges; however, if there is a trial on these charges and the offender testifies, the statement MAY be used as rebuttal evidence for purposes of impeachment. If not accepted into the program, you won’t be able to testify in your trial denying guilt.
If you are accepted into the Diversion Program are subsequently terminated from the Program, this statement MAY be used as evidence in the State’s case, so cannot plead “not guilty” with ANY hope of success.
Applications for entry into the Diversion Program must be submitted through the District Attorney’s website within 30 calendar days of the date an attorney is hired or appointed or within 30 calendar days of the first appearance, whichever is later. Once accepted into the program, a contract will list the specific requirements and obligations that you must complete. Application details can be found here.
Every offender accepted into the Diversion Program is required to sign the Diversion Agreement and the Diversion Conditions Form. These documents include both mandatory items for all offenders, and “offense specific” items which are designed to help the offender overcome issues that led to the criminal offense and to expand their life skills to help them be successful, non-offending adult members of the community. Offenders are responsible for ALL costs associated with any contract items.
- Mandatory Contract Items
- No further criminal violations
- Truthfully answer all questions asked by Probation Officers
- Report all contact with police/law enforcement within 24 hours
- No weapons possession
- Remain in Texas; travel permit required to leave
- Pay all court costs, fines, restitution, and Probation Supervision
- Maintain steady, full-time employment (part-time with approval)
- Community Service Work
- Alcohol and Drug Evaluation
- Breathalyzer Call-Ins if alcohol abuse is a possible contributing issue to the offense
- No drug use – monitored scans
- Drug/alcohol treatment as determined
- Mental Health Evaluation and/or Treatment, as determined
- Drive only with Valid Driver’s License and Insurance
- Offense Specific Contract Items (determined individually for each offender):
- No alcohol use
- Random alcohol and/or drug use monitoring, frequency determined by substance use history
- Drug or alcohol treatment, from peer support to outpatient to inpatient, depending on history
- Mental health treatment, from outpatient to inpatient, depending on history and mental health evaluation
- Theft Class
- Anger Management Classes
- Ethics Class
- Moral Reconation Therapy
- Victim Empathy Class
- Life Skills Contract Items (determined individually for each offender):
- Parenting Classes
- Budget Classes
- Texas Workforce Development Counseling
- GED/HS Diploma/Vocational Training
- Collin College Skills and Aptitude Assessments and courses related to the results of those assessments
- Meetings with Mentor
- Meetings with Small Group Circles
- Conflict Resolution Class
- Stress Management/Assertiveness/Self-Esteem Class
SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR COMPLETION
If in the opinion of the Diversion Prosecutor or Probation Officer, the offender is in need of special counseling, mentoring, classes, therapy, or services, the offender must agree to participate in such programs as a specific condition of his/her satisfactory completion of the Diversion Program. This may include requiring the offender to attend self-improvement courses or programming. If the offender is not willing to accept these conditions, the offender will not be able to successfully complete the Diversion Program.
PROCEDURE FOR DIVERSION PROGRAM
- Offender meets requirements and completes the application.
- If tentatively accepted, the offender signs the Diversion Agreement admitting guilt.
- The offender is then placed on diversion for 12 months for misdemeanor offenses and 24 months for felony offenses.
- The offender completes screening tests with the Collin County Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
- If applicable, the offender takes skills, aptitude, and interests screening assessments at Collin College.
- The offender will pay a monthly supervision fee of $50, pay any restitution, pay the program fee of $500, pay for any drug or alcohol testing, pay for any classes or programs that are part of the supervision plan, and comply with the attached rules of community supervision.
- At the end of the program, the criminal history of the offender is reviewed to determine if there have been any additional arrests. If there are no new arrests, if all probation rules have been followed, and if the supervision plan has been completed, the case is dismissed.
- The offender is eligible to apply for an expunction immediately after dismissal. The arrest and charges on the county website remain a public and criminal record until removed by the expunction, which removes it from both.
COMPARED TO DEFERRED ADJUDICATION
Anyone eligible for the divert program is also eligible for a sentence of deferred adjudication. Although deferred is not “technically” a conviction, the conviction is treated as a final criminal conviction for all practical purposes. The differences between the divert program and deferred are, generally, the term of probation is not as long as divert and more importantly, the term can be ended early if the court approves. For most sentences, the end of the deferred period allows you to immediately apply for “non-disclosure” of the arrest to remove your misdemeanor arrest from your public record, but not from your criminal record. This option for a misdemeanor is attractive because it allows the removal of your arrest from the public record more quickly, but you are stuck with what appears to police as a criminal conviction for life. For felony arrests, the nondisclosure is very delayed, so expunction is much more attractive.
DENIAL OF THE OFFENSE
Until the offense(s) are hidden by either an expunction or nondisclosure, they remain on both your public and criminal record. Once the offenses are “hidden”, you are legally permitted to falsely represent these offenses never occurred, except a nondisclosure remains on your criminal record and cannot be denied to law enforcement or homeland security type agencies [including some professional licensing agencies].
Mugshot type websites are a continuing problem. They are not required to remove your arrest record from their site, but fortunately, most will do so when provided copies of the nondisclosure or expunction. If not removed, you may face problems on applications, so you might be calling on your attorney for assistance long after your arrest is “hidden”.