Misdemeanor Diversion Program
The state of Florida has established alternatives to sentencing for some offenders through pre-trial diversion programs. First-time offenders or those with little criminal history are often offered the chance to participate in a pre-trial program known as the Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP). If the offender completes the program successfully, the court will agree to drop the charges against them.
Even if a person is not eligible to enter the pre-trial diversion program, the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office can make certain exceptions to the eligibility requirements on a case by case basis. So even if you aren’t a first-time offender there’s still a chance you can be accepted into an Misdemeanor Diversion Program. The program is managed by the Probation Division of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, and Plantation, FL. If you or someone you know has been offered a plea deal to participate in a Misdemeanor Diversion Program, then it’s within your best interest to retain legal counsel.
Defense Attorney Explains Misdemeanor Diversion Program in Broward County, FL
If you are accused of a misdemeanor in Broward County, then we suggest you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell for assistance. Our attorneys can help you understand the charges pending against you, the best possible defenses, and the pros and cons of entering a diversion program such as the Misdemeanor Diversion Program (M.D.P.).
If you decide to enter a pre-trial diversion program, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you complete the application, get approved for the program and complete the special conditions as quickly as possible. Call us now at (954) 765-6585 to set up your first consultation free of charge. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the greater Broward County area including Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, and Hollywood.
Overview of Misdemeanor Diversion Programs in FL
- What is a Diversion Program?
- Broward County Misdemeanor Diversion Program Requirements
- Additional Resources
What is a Diversion Program?
Many assume when a criminal has pleaded guilty of their charges their case will automatically go to trial. In actuality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The District Attorney’s Office will often offer criminal offenders a plea deal during pre-trial proceedings where the offender can avoid some of the crime’s penalties. One of the most common plea-bargaining deals prosecutors will offer is a chance to participate in a pre-trial diversion program.
You may be wondering, what is a diversion program and why would I agree to it? A pretrial diversion program serves as an alternative to jail or prison for certain offenders who meet the requirements. The offender must complete all the terms and conditions listed in the program under court order. If they complete the diversion program successfully, then the judge will dismiss your criminal charges.
However, if you violate the conditions of the program you could be removed from the diversion program and be forced to face the statutory penalties of the crime. In Broward County they offer a specific diversion program known as the Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP). This diversion program was created solely for misdemeanants charged with minor crimes, especially drug-related offenses. The program focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment and can include required counseling, classes on drug abuse and random drug screenings.
Broward County Misdemeanor Diversion Program Requirements
Unfortunately, the Misdemeanor Diversion Program cannot take on every case. In order to participate in the program, you must meet the requirements first. The State Attorney as well as the victims of the crime must consent to your participation in a Misdemeanor Diversion Program before you can be offered it.
You cannot be admitted into the program if you’ve participated in any diversion program in the past for another crime. The court does not allow felony offenders int the program, which can include a withhold of adjudication. You will not be allowed into the program if you have more than one prior conviction for a non-violent misdemeanor crime. Most people accepted into a Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) have little to no criminal history, not even an arrest. However, it’s important to know that the court admits people into the program on a case-by-case basis. So, there is always a chance you could be accepted into a MDP.
Participation in a Misdemeanor Diversion Program is granted to most alleged offenders charged with one of the following crimes:
- Possession of Cannabis and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
- Prostitution or Solicitation for Prostitution;
- Resisting Arrest Without Violence;
- Criminal Mischief;
- Petit Theft (excluding theft from a government entity or employer);
- Fish and Game (excluding endangering protected wildlife, serious case designations);
- Handicap Sticker Violations (excluding fraud in obtaining);
- Loitering and Prowling (excluding cases with sexual, lewd or obscene content);
- No Valid Driver’s License (excluding accident cases);
- Disorderly Conduct/Disorderly Intoxication;
- False Name/Identity offenses;
- Unlawful Use or Possession of Driver’s License or ID Card;
- Curfew violations;
- Some county Ordinance violations (excluding building, zoning and fire code); and
- State Park violations (excluding cases with sexual, lewd or obscene content).
Thankfully, the court may still admit you to a Misdemeanor Diversion Program if you were charged with a crime that wasn’t listed above. Although these cases are examined on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances, the court may still offer you participation in a MDP if your charges were nonviolent which can include, but isn’t limited to:
- Petit Theft (from a government entity or employer);
- Worthless Check;
- Animal Abuse;
- No Valid Driver’s License (accident cases);
- Certain weapons offenses;
- Offenses originally charged as felonies;
- Contributing to the Delinquency/Dependency of a Minor;
- Counterfeit Label, Trademark, Service Mark related charges where dealing in several items of merchandise;
- Environmental/Litter violations;
- Fish and Game (endangering protected wildlife, serious case designations);
- Indecent Exposure (with sexual, lewd or obscene content);
- Concealed weapon charges at government buildings;
- Unlicensed Contractor
- False Statement to Law Enforcement/Perjury non-official proceedings/False 911 call;
- Failure to Obey
Probation Division | Broward Sheriff’s Office — Visit the official website for the Probation Division of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which supervises the MDP for first- time offenders. It also provides intake processing, monitoring, and supervision of all misdemeanor offenders placed on probation or community service by the County Court. Learn more about the division and its daily duties at the Broward County’s Office.
Diversion Programs | Office of the State Attorney — Visit the official website of the State Attorney to find additional information about MDP diversion programs in your area. Access the site to learn more about diversion programs such as the Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program, Truancy Diversion Program, and Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Diversion program.
Lawyer for Diversion Programs in Fort Lauderdale, FL
A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the eligibility requirements as well as the pros and cons of entering diversion. If you need legal representation, call Meltzer & Bell. Our attorneys have been practicing criminal defense collectively for over 20 years. We will do whatever possible to fight for your rights.
Call an attorney in Fort Lauderdale at Meltzer & Bell to discuss the particular facts of your case at (754) 755-8554 today for a free consultation. During your appointment we will examine your case details for what the next best step forward is. Meltzer & Bell practices throughout the greater Broward County area including Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach.