Protecting Your Record – Collin County Pretrial Diversion Program

By Allen, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Kyle T. Therrian
Office Number: (972) 562-7549
24 Hr Jail Release: (214) 403-6522

One of the many roles of a defense attorney is to help manage the consequences of a criminal charge. When a person is charged with a misdemeanor offense, sometimes the most severe consequence can be the impact on that person’s criminal record. In Texas, there are several ways for a person with a fairly clean record to keep it that way. Under the new Collin County District Attorney, one option is to agree to be placed in the Pretrial Diversion Program.

The Pretrial Diversion Program is a deferred prosecution program available in certain misdemeanor cases where the individual charged with an offense has no prior criminal history. What deferred prosecution means is that the case will be removed from the normal court process and the individual placed into a non-court-ordered probation program without pleading guilty to the Court.

Because the program is new, many of the finer details are still developing. The most important detail, however, is clear: successful completion of the program makes the person eligible for a complete and immediate expunction of the arrest, the prosecution, and the entire court case. Naturally, this option has become quite popular for people charged with a misdemeanor offense, and the District Attorney’s Office has yet to shy away from allocating resources to meet the exceptionally high demand.

When the District Attorney’s Office approves an individual for the Pretrial Diversion Program an interview with the Probation Office is scheduled. This interview accomplishes two things: (1) screening out habitual offenders and individuals with serious drug use, and (2) securing an affidavit which admits guilt of the alleged offense. Once accepted, the individual will agree to a supervised probation term with standard terms and conditions. To encourage compliance, the District Attorney’s Office uses both the carrot and the stick. Failing to abide by the terms and conditions, including attending monthly interviews, will result in being released from the program and back before the Court–only this time with a sworn admission of guilt.

To be considered for Pretrial Diversion, an individual must be represented by an attorney. The District Attorney’s Office will refuse to submit an individual to Pretrial Diversion without one. Even more importantly, the District Attorney’s Office does not make Pretrial Diversion part of their standard offer in any case–thus far attorneys have been required to request it. What this means to the individual charged with a misdemeanor is that hiring just any attorney may not be enough to reap the benefits of the program.

The following lists the nuts and bolts of the program:

  • Must have an attorney to be accepted
  • Must admit guilt to be accepted
  • Must have a clean or near-clean record to be accepted
  • Must pay an upfront probation fee and monthly supervision fee once accepted
  • Must pay restitution to the victim of the offense, if any
  • Must be drug tested (although failure does not always preclude admission)
  • Must report monthly to Probation Office
  • Must do community service
  • Must attend any courses recommended by Probation Office
  • Must not commit any new offenses
  • Must not use drugs while supervised
  • Will be on probation for up to 1 year
  • Will be eligible for an expunction immediately after completing probation

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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