The Office of the State Attorney has several diversionary programs designed to offer early intervention to some offenders. These programs have a multipurpose. They can help relieve overburdened courts so that the courts can readily handle more serious cases. They can increase the chances of a better outcome than the involvement with a traditional court system allows. And they can offer less-serious offenders an opportunity to avoid prosecution by participating and completing a program.
PreTrial Diversion Program
The PreTrial Diversion Program is a deferred prosecution program for selected misdemeanor/misdemeanor DUI offenders, offered by the Office of the State Attorney and supervised by Orange County Community Corrections. Successful completion of the Pre-trial Diversion program will result in the dismissal of the case by the Office of the State Attorney. Attorneys cannot make a referral to PTD. The Office of the State Attorney is the only office that can refer someone for the program.
Florida Statutes created a cooperative effort between the State Attorney’s Office and selected agencies to divert appropriate first-time offenders to these programs. Participants within the program sign a contract with the State of Florida that waives their right to a speedy trial. The participant also agrees to follow the program requirements and perform specific sanctions. Participants are normally supervised six months to 12 months depending upon the offense. If the participant is successful and completes the program, along with listed sanctions, the State agrees to drop the participant’s criminal charges in that specific case. This enables the participant to avoid a conviction and ultimately a criminal record.
- Misdemeanor/DUI charges only. Felony cases are supervised by the Department of Corrections.
- No prior sentence, conviction or dismissal for a similar charge, no more than one prior misdemeanor sentence for a dissimilar offense, no prior deferred prosecution/diversion programs, no prior juvenile programs, no prior felony sentences.
- Legal residence in the United States.
- Approval by the Office of the State Attorney.
- For DUIs: no prior alcohol-related driving offenses, regardless of disposition.
Veterans Diversion Program
The Veterans PreTrial Division Program was created in partnership with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, in an effort to provide needed services for those who were members of our Armed Forces. The goal of Veteran’s Diversion is to provide rehabilitative services to those veterans who have committed certain types of criminal offenses, in an effort to assist veterans in correcting behaviors sometimes associated with prior military service. The programs include substance abuse evaluation and treatment, metal health evaluation, and treatment and job skill development.
Juvenile Diversion Programs
The Ninth Circuit State Attorney’s Office has a diverse and very effective philosophy for working with juvenile offenders. While our primary duty is to protect the community, we also attempt to rehabilitate our juvenile offenders with the hope that they do not reoffend.
The Juvenile Unit has helped design and implement numerous diversion programs to meet the individual needs of each juvenile. These diversion programs make first time, less serious offenders accountable for their criminal behavior but give them an opportunity to have the case dismissed if that program is successfully completed. The office currently offers 5 diversion programs in Orange County and 4 diversion programs in Osceola County for some juvenile cases. Each diversion program targets the individual needs of the child to rehabilitate them so they do not return to the criminal justice system.
Teen Court – A peer-oriented program, Teen Court is for youth ages 12 to 18. Most of the program’s participants are assisted by adult and teen volunteers who take on the role of judges, lawyers and jury. The Teen Court volunteers determine the appropriate sanctions for the delinquent offense. Teen Court also provides a specialized track for juvenile domestic violence offenders.
Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program (JDAP) – Youth for this program may be referred by the Department of Juvenile Justice and approved by the State Attorney’s Office. The targeted age group is under 17 years old. JDAP is a counseling intensive program and also has a domestic violence component.
Neighborhood Restorative Justice – This program is geographically based for youth in the following areas: Winter Garden, Apopka, Ocoee, Maitland, Eatonville and East Orange County. Neighborhood accountability boards determine how to best approach the damage that has resulted from crimes occurring within their own communities.
Drug Court – A court-administered program for youth who have drug usage as a primary issue even if not charged with a drug offense. It involves intensive counseling and random drug testing. Progressive sanctions are imposed for refused or failed drug tests, or for failure to comply with the program’s requirements. This program typically takes up to six months to complete and targets youth ages 14 to 18.
Ladies First & MAN UP – Designed to help at-risk youth pursue healthy alternatives to poor behavior. The program is created to meet the needs of youths ages 10-18.