Diverting Your Criminal Case to a Specialty Court: Are You Eligible and Should You Agree?

In Illinois, some criminal charges can be diverted to a specialty court. These alternative solutions —also known as diversion court—give you the chance to prove to the courts that your mistake was just a one-time occurrence. As long as you successfully complete the terms of your diversion, the criminal charge does not go on your record. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for this option, and even those that are should carefully consider whether or not diversion is the right choice for their situation. The following information can help in making that decision.

Types of Diversion

Through diversion court, the justice system attempts to address the core issue behind a defendant’s criminal offense. This is why there are different types of diversion court; each is meant to deal with a specific issue. Those that are currently available in Illinois include:

  • Traffic court diversion;
  • Mental health specialty court;
  • Veterans’ specialty courts;
  • Drug courts (includes all drug diversion options); and

To qualify for any one of these diversion options, you must meet certain criteria. For example, some drug diversion courts accept offenders with any general substance abuse disorder, but others only take those that have been charged with a specific drug-related crime. You must also voluntarily agree to participate in the program, and you cannot have any violent crimes over the last ten years to qualify for a specialty court option.

Is Diversion the Right Option for Your Situation?

Even if you do qualify for diversion, it is critical that you consider all of your options before you accept. Know the strengths of your case, and if you have any chance at having the charges dismissed without diversion. Also, be certain that you fully understand the terms of your diversion. Failure to successfully complete the program will generally result in a criminal conviction, possible jail time, and other consequences, such as fines and penalties. You should also know what to do if you ever violate the terms of your diversion (you may be given a chance to make it right), and how it could affect your case. Lastly, know your odds of conviction if you take your case to trial, and what it would mean for your future.

We Can Help You Decide

If you are facing criminal charges and considering diversion, contact a Joliet criminal defense lawyer to ensure that you have all of the facts and understand all of your options before you accept. Dedicated to helping you get back to your life as soon as possible, we carefully examine your case, answer all of your questions, and will aggressively protect your rights and best interest. To learn more about how we can assist with your criminal case, schedule your free initial consultation today.

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