Many politicians have made a career out of “getting tough on crime.” They pledge to aggressively prosecute even low-level offenses, with the aim of making our communities safer. Unfortunately, first-time and non-violent offenders wind up facing harsh penalties, including significant time behind bars. Thankfully, Michigan offers alternatives to incarceration that are better suited for people charged with minor crimes.
Lansing criminal defense attorney Tiffany DeBruin believes that a poor decision shouldn’t ruin your life forever. She understands that there’s more to your case than the verdict – your future is at stake. As a result, she passionately advocates for her clients’ rights, and fights for them to obtain the best possible result – which could include a pretrial diversion program in Michigan.
What is Pretrial Diversion in MI?
Pretrial diversion is a program offered by the court through which you can avoid a permanent criminal conviction in exchange for agreeing to complete some type of rehabilitation program or treatment. Your charges are dismissed, reduced, or kept from public record once you have completed the program and any other conditions, such as payment of a fine or restitution.
Pretrial diversion programs are based on the philosophy that many criminal defendants, as well as society as a whole, are better served by corrective action, rather than incarceration and other harsh penalties. Low-level offenders who go to jail or prison are often more likely to have future trouble with the law, and pretrial diversion programs present viable alternatives.
Programs Vary By County
Unfortunately, there is no state-wide pretrial program in Michigan. Each county can design its own program, determine which crimes qualify, and establish various other eligibility criteria. However, most of them share the following characteristics:
- A focus on first-time offenders
- Availability for those charged with non-violent misdemeanors or low-level felonies
- Dismissal, reduction, or concealment from the public of charges after completion of a rehabilitative or treatment program
Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon has indicated that she hopes to expand the pretrial diversion options available to defendants in Ingham County. Offenses related to welfare fraud, disorderly conduct, unemployment fraud, and some animal-related charges now qualify for enrollment in a pretrial diversion program in Michigan. In addition, even offenders with prior convictions can qualify.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Pretrial diversion programs vary by county across the state of Michigan. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney will know what options are available in the jurisdiction where you have been charged, and whether you will qualify for pretrial diversion.
A knowledgeable and experienced Lansing criminal defense attorney will know what options are available, what you need to do in order to qualify, and what terms are fair for your diversion. Without a legal representative, you have to figure this out on your own, and the prosecution isn’t going to help you. Instead, they may be focused on getting a quick conviction so that they can move on to the next case.
Contact DeBruin Law PLLC for Help Today
Don’t leave your future in the hands of the prosecution. You need someone on your side who understands how important it is to obtain a fair outcome for your future. Attorney Tiffany DeBruin can help you face your charges and navigate the entire legal process, whether that means a pretrial diversion program, a plea agreement, a dismissal of your case, or a trial. The most important thing is that you take action today to make sure your rights are protected.