Felony diversion is a program in Kentucky which is an alternative to trial. Diversion is only available for first time, non-violent crimes and typically only available for class D felonies. Diversion does require the concurrence of the Commonwealth Attorney as well as approval by the presiding judge and should be discussed with your attorney.
In order to be accepted into the felony diversion program, the Defendant must plead guilty to the underlying crime. Most courts, at least those in Northern Kentucky, do not allow no contest or Alford pleas and only pleas allowed are that of guilty. The court will make a finding, but will not issue a sentence against the Defendant.
During the period of diversion, the Defendant will report to a diversion officer, which is the same as a probation officer. Probation and diversion terms are identical; the Defendant will have to report, will be prohibited from committing any crimes, cannot own, possess or carry a firearm and cannot consume any alcohol or illegal drugs during the period of diversion/probation.
If the Defendant violates terms of the diversion, the probation officer will file a Notice of Violation and the case will be set for the court to determine if a violation occurred. If so, the court has multiple options: (1) if minor, the court can continue diversion and return the Defendant to diversion; or (2) the court can terminate diversion. If diversion is terminated, the court can (a) place the defendant on probation, (b) issue a sanction to the defendant (fixed term of days), (c) continue probation on probation for longer period (if agreed); or (d) sentence the defendant to incarceration pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement pursuant to the statute.
Why is Diversion is better than a misdemeanor (potentially)? If the Defendant is SUCCESSFUL and completes diversion without violation, the case will be DISMISSED and voided from the Defendant’s record. 60 days after dismissal, the Defendant may move the court to Expunge the charges entirely.
If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Discuss the possibility of diversion and have your attorney ascertain if you are eligible. For consultation or representation in Norhtern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin or call 859-581-MIKE (859-581-6453).