Diversion Programs

Truancy Diversion Program

 

The Truancy Diversion Program is a diversion program designed to accommodate the special needs of Defendants charged with failing to require that their child or children attend school.  The policies regarding such are similar to the standard M.D.P. with the following modifications:  The initial application will be offered by an Assistant from the Truancy Unit at arraignment, or by mail on written pleas of not guilty, with a deadline for application to the program specified therein.  The legal residency requirement above is waived but applicants must provide a verifiable address.  The Applicant is permitted to have one prior misdemeanor offense (other than a weapons charge or one similar to the instant offense) but if having such, must not have failed to successfully complete any type of supervision required.  There is a $150.00 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.  Questions regarding this program should be referred to the Truancy Intervention Program of the Office of the State Attorney.

 

Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP)

 

The Misdemeanor Diversion Program (M.D.P.) is a diversion program that affords first time offenders an opportunity to immediately accept responsibility for their actions, seek rehabilitation, and divert their cases from the criminal court system. M.D.P. is administered and supervised by Broward Sheriff’s Office Probation for this judicial circuit. Eligibility requirements and approval for entry into M.D.P. will be determined at arraignment.

 

Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI)

 

The Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program is a diversion program operated by the Florida Department of Corrections. 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. Defendants charged with a qualifying third degree felony may be approved for this program.

 

For additional information regarding Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) please click here or call 954-831-6371.

 

Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Diversion Program

 

Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Diversion is designed for those offenders who wish to participate in a program aimed at reversing the cycle of domestic violence and keeping the family unit intact.  This program requires the 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.    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 will allow 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.  Whether the Battery charges are eligible for diversion is determined on a case by case basis dependent upon the facts surrounding the charge.  The defendant must have 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 a $100.00 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. The eligibility for the program, its requirements, and procedural considerations are described in the 17th Judicial Circuit Administrative Order No. VI-07-N-1 or any subsequent revisions thereto.

 

Alternatives to Formal Processing of Juveniles Cases

 

There are a number of alternatives to formal processing of cases involving juveniles that have been developed County wide over the last dozen or so years.  Some involve the SAO making referrals directly (diversion and juvenile drug court), others involve the SAO collaborating with development of criteria, process, procedure and continued oversight (PROMISE and Civil Citation).  The programs are as follows:

 

  1. Diversion - all youth who are referred to this office for filing review of a misdemeanor or non-violent third degree felony for the first time (prior referrals to PROMISE and/or civil citation are not considered) are referred to a diversion program. In addition to youth falling within this criteria, youth who are 12 years of age or younger can be referred to diversion for any offense and, on a case by case basis, youth who have significant mental disabilities can be referred to specialized diversion for any offense.  Sexually reactive youth who are very young or involve intra-familial victimization can also be referred to specialized diversion program for treatment as it would be very difficult to prosecute these youth and the ultimate goal is to get them services to hopefully curve the problem behavior.

    1. We have a total of 12 different diversion programs located through the county.

    2. These programs offer an array of services and interventions that range from therapies for low level offenders who are at low risk to re-offend to specialized, deeper end programs that deal with sex offenders, youth with mental health issues, deep rooted behavioral issues and families experiencing familial problems that contribute to delinquency.

    3. upon successful completion of diversion, the case is declined.

    4. youth who initially refuse to participate in diversion programs are given a subsequent opportunity to participate in diversion after the case is filed.  The cases of youth who wish to avail themselves of this opportunity have their cases held in abeyance for 180 days.  If they successfully complete the program within that time and remain arrest free, the case is nolle prosequi.

  2. Juvenile Drug Court - There are two tracks to the Juvenile Drug Court program.

    1. The first is for youth charged with misdemeanor, non-violent 3rd degree felony or with 2nd degree felony offenses involving the purchase of a controlled substance who are identified as having substance abuse issues or being at risk for such. Qualifying youth must not have previously been convicted of a felony offense.  Upon completion of the program these youth’s cases will be nolle prosequi.

    2. The second track is designed for youth who are identified as having substance abuse problems but who do not fit the above requirements.  These youth’s cases will not be nolle prosequi upon completion but successful drug court participation will act as the consequence imposed.

      Under both tracks juveniles are able to partake in community-based treatment programs, intensive case management services, and whatever other types of assistance they may need to avoid reliance on controlled substances all under judicial supervision.

  3. Civil Citation- Broward County has a long history of using civil citations as an alternative to arrest but in recent times, as the result of amendments to the civil citation statute, citations are being even more widely used.  Civil Citations can be issued in lieu of arrest to misdemeanant offenders up to 3 times.  The youth is required to admit to the offense, to participate in programs similar to and with services provided by the same agencies as diversion programs.  Upon successful completion of the program, the record of the incident is destroyed thereby avoiding processing through the formal juvenile justice system.

  4. PROMISE program - this office has been involved in trying to address and reduce school based arrests for minor offenses for years.  We collaborated with a group called the Eliminating the School House to Jail House Pipeline which includes the School Board, school administrators, Law Enforcement representatives, the Public Defender’s office, the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center and established a program whereby students are given the opportunity to avoid being arrested for certain misdemeanor offenses committed on school grounds.  The behavior is dealt with as a matter of school discipline rather than arrest so there is no referral to law enforcement or our office.

    1. Students are given 3 opportunities each school year to participate in the PROMISE program and the behavioral interventions increase with each incident.

    2. This program has helped greatly reduce the number of students arrested or subjected to out of school suspensions.  Another goal is to increase graduation rates and it appears that we may be on the road to accomplishing that as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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