Facing a criminal charge can be daunting. You are probably wondering what you can do to stay out of jail. For certain cases and situations, a pre-filing diversion might be the best approach. If you have questions, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What is a Pre-Filing Diversion?

Pre-filing or pre-trial diversion is a program that allows an individual to keep a conviction off his or her criminal record. In pre-filing diversion, someone who is charged with a criminal offense must submit to a program and follow required rules for a period of time. A judge will set the parameters of each diversion program. 

Prosecutors sometimes offer pre-trial diversion for a person accused of a minor, non-violent crime. Prosecutors must determine that the person charged won’t get in the same type of trouble again. In assessing whether someone should get a diversion, a prosecutor will review the case along with the defendant’s prior history. All pre-filing diversion agreements must be in writing.

Kentucky Pre-Filing Diversion Considerations 

Pre-trial diversion is only offered for specific cases. Under Kentucky law, a prosecutor may consider several factors when deciding to offer pre-filing diversion to a defendant. 

A prosecutor might evaluate:

  • The seriousness of the crime
  • If the defendant has been in trouble before
  • If the defendant is likely to succeed in a diversion program
  • The likelihood of the defendant getting in trouble again
  •  Any mitigating circumstances

A prosecutor can consider many other factors, depending on the case. In Kentucky, only misdemeanor crimes and minor Class D felonies are eligible for diversion.  

What Are the Requirements For Receiving a Pre-Filing Diversion?

Often the most important factor in getting a pre-filing diversion is admitting responsibility to the crime charged. You will have to admit your guilt for the crime charged to the satisfaction of both the prosecutor and judge. Pre-filing diversion is mainly available to first-time offenders who are nonviolent. 

Only certain cases qualify for pre-trial diversion in Kentucky. Under Kentucky law, the following cases are not eligible for pre-trial diversion:

  • Capital Offenses
  • Class A Offenses
  • Class B Offenses
  • Class C Offenses

If you are charged with a felony in one of the classes above, then pre-filing diversions are generally not available. Pre-filing diversions are typically only offered to defendants facing lower-level offenses. 

Sometimes, you will need to convince a prosecutor why diversion is appropriate in a specific case. Your criminal defense attorney can help you negotiate with the prosecutor. 

What Happens When Pre-Filing Diversion is Granted?

When pre-filing diversion is granted, the defendant agrees to abide by a set of rules for a fixed period of time. A diversion will often require the accused to pay fines to the court. A diversion can also include community service, regular drug testing, and other requirements. A judge will also order the defendant to pay restitution for any damage or injuries caused by their conduct.

It is common for someone in a pre-filing diversion program to have to appear in court and meet with a probation agent. This diversion period can last a year or more. If the defendant completes all of the requirements in their diversion contract, then the original charges will be dismissed. This allows the defendant to maintain a clean criminal record. 

What Happens If You Fail to Complete Pre-Filing Diversion?

If you don’t complete all of your diversion requirements, then prosecutors will refile your original criminal charge(s). All of the potential penalties for a conviction are back on the table, including jail time.

If this happens, the only way to keep a clean criminal record is to win your case at trial or have the case dismissed for a legal reason. A pre-filing diversion is a second chance, and Kentucky criminal courts typically only offer one of them. Pre-filing diversion can be a useful tool to help you if you use it correctly.  

Contact a Louisville Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help

If you have questions about whether or not you qualify for pre-filing diversion, you should speak to an experienced Louisville criminal defense attorney. We offer free consultations so you can have your questions answered by a seasoned professional. Call us or contact us online today to schedule your appointment.