By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Collin County Pre-Trial Diversion program.
As a refresher, the pre-trial diversion program is a less formal probation offered under Tex.Code.Crim.P. 42.12. In Collin County, a first-time offender may be offered the opportunity to enter the pre-trial diversion program which would result in the underlying charges to be dismissed and eventually expunged.
The Collin County District Attorney’s Office has made this alternative more available in the past few years for certain categories of cases. Most qualifying cases tend to be misdemeanor theft and drug cases though those charges are not exclusively considered. While the diversion program is available for felonies, selection of felony cases for diversion has been extremely selective. Diversion is not offered for DWI or DUI charges.
The program has endured some growing pains but remains an excellent avenue towards clearing one’s record. The current process is that a defendant’s attorney must first apply and be approved by the District Attorney’s Office. After receiving approval from the DA’s office, a candidate is sent paper-work to be reviewed with their attorney. The candidate is then required to personally make an appointment with the probation officer who conducts a final interview and decides if the candidate is admitted into the pre-trial diversion program.
Generally speaking a candidate is usually accepted into the program at the interview — but not always (a point they make repeatedly). The interviewer, however, can reject the application. The criterion for such rejection can be rather vague but probably hinges on the needs of the person entering the program in relation to the current load of the program.
The program isn’t perfect, but from a practitioner’s standpoint seems to have a high success rate for those who are accepted and remains a useful option.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.