Getting Answers For Your Jail Diversion Questions
Before you assume that there is no way to avoid jail time after a conviction, you should know that you may have options available. My name is Jenna Finkelstein. At the Finkelstein Firm, P.A., I help clients in the Clearwater area pursue the optimal outcome in all their criminal defense needs, including answering jail diversion questions such as those below.
Can I afford alternative sentencing?
Each program will have different costs. You may pay more depending on the type of charge and the recommended program for that charge. If you’re accepted into an alternative sentencing or jail diversion program, then you can expect to pay fines, fees and costs. If you owe restitution to a victim, then you can expect to have to pay restitution as part of your program as well. Getting arrested is not cheap, but the benefits of entering a program will far outweigh the costs you will pay otherwise.
I was previously arrested in another state. Will this affect my ability to get into a program?
The previous arrest(s) will be taken into consideration when you apply for an alternative program. Most programs require little or no prior record for eligibility to participate.
Can I complete a diversion program for my DUI?
Some Florida jurisdictions do have diversion programs for first-time driving under the influence (DUI) arrests. Pinellas and Hillsborough counties do not currently have the DUI diversion program option. Depending on the facts surrounding your arrest, your prior criminal record, and the county you were arrested in, your lawyer may be able to make the case for a lesser offense. Negotiating something less than a DUI conviction is extremely important, as a lesser disposition can save you time and money as well as help you avoid increased insurance rates.
What is the difference between a pretrial diversion program and a post-conviction jail alternative program?
Pretrial diversion is usually offered to nonviolent, first-time offenders or offenders with minimal records. Upon the offender’s successful completion of the program, the charges may be dismissed. Post-conviction alternatives are usually under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. If you are looking at a conviction and some form of jail time, the state of Florida has alternatives to straight jail/prison time. These alternatives may include some form of work release, community control, house arrest, electronic monitoring or probation.
Can I complete the program in another state if I am arrested in Florida?
Typically, no. Most programs require supervision in the county where you were arrested. If you are not from Florida and plan to go back to your home state, call my office, and I can discuss more options for you akin to diversion, such as pretrial mitigation.
Will I be drug tested while I’m in the program?
Most likely, you will have to submit to random drug screening. You are more likely to be required to submit to random drug tests if your charge is drug related.
What if I am arrested while in a diversion program?
You should contact an attorney immediately. If the new arrest is relatively minor, then your lawyer may be able to convince the state attorney’s office or program director to allow you to continue in the program. However, most programs do require as part of the agreement that you do not commit new law violations.