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Is a pretrial diversion a conviction?

Sanford, FL |

I'm concerned about the PTD program since I am in a perdicament were I'm in the medical profession and I need to get recertified every year and they run background checks every year so I have to be honest about what has happened. I have three felony counts burglary of a conveyence,burglary tools possesion of burglary and larcony over 300. I have never been introuble with the law so this pretrail diversion has come up but by completeing this program am I admitting guilt? I really need a straight answer since the national governing body that certifies me and does the background checks also asks if we have gone through any pretrial derversion programs, and if it seen as guilty plea I would most definetely loose my license. What should I do?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Pretrial diversion is not an admission of any kind as long as you complete the program. In order to enter into PTD you will waive your right to speedy trial. If you complete the program, which will consist of community service, possibly some classes, and payment of fines and costs, the state will file a nolle prosequi. This means that if you complete PTD, the State will drop the charges against you. Your record will simply show that you were arrested and that the charges were dropped.

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Posted

I agree that all Pretrial Diversion programs that I know of end in convictions. However, some jurisdictions require you to sign documents admitting that you are guilty of the offense and that the charges will be dropped. Those documents are public records and the well informed and diligent future employer or even attorney on the other side of a potential civil suit can find those documents. An alternative is to do all the conditions of the pretrial diversion program prior to having the charges dropped and then you can honestly answer that you have never been through such a program. Likely your licensing agency would ask you to report if you have been arrested for anything so they will be getting into these subjects anyway.

Administrative and licensing issues are important considerations. I have represented clients in administrative proceedings with the criminal defense attorney made bad choices. Make sure your attorney can do both and it up to date on the collateral consequences to the disposition of your case.

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Posted

I think it really depends on whether you will be diverted before charges are filed or after charges are filed.

If before, then the case will be dropped upon successful completion of the diversion program. But if it is after charges are filed, they often ask you to enter a plea, then perform the requirements in order for them to not proceed with any sentencing. Read the forms carefully. As a side note, if you have a public defender they may not be helpful on this particular issue. They have very little experience with civil issues relating to criminal cases and often do not know the detailed nuance of pre-trial programs or collateral consequences simply because they rarely, if ever, are tasked to deal with them.

I would say you should look up and hire an attorney who specializes in certification issues in your field. If this is your livelihood you should consider that a worthy investment.

Of course, if you have done nothing wrong and feel you should not even be charged, you have the option of maintaining a plea of not guilty and fighting the charges, but in that case you should definitely hire a competent criminal defense attorney to evaluate and defend your case.

Either way, if you win at trial or have the case dropped, your record will still reflect the arrest and even if sealed that will likely be visible to the agency that certifies you so be candid at all times when dealing with them. And in the case of a diversion, be careful it doesn't involve a plea or admission of guilt as a condition of entry. Seek the advise of a certification attorney or a criminal defense attorney before making any decision. Good luck

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Posted

In Florida, PTD is usually offered after charges are filed. If you decide to enter the PTD program, your case is left open while you are diverted to the program. Upon successful completion of the special conditions of the program, and assuming you do not pick up any new cases within a year, your PTD case should be dismissed after that year. Your case will be left open, and pending, during that time. Since PTD is a program offered by the State Attorney's Office, they may allow you to enter the program without being arraigned (entering a plea of not guilty). If you get bounced out of PTD, they will bring you back for arraignment and your case can then proceed to trial or a plea.

If you complete PTD and the case is dismissed, it is not a conviction. It goes on record that the State dismissed charges against you for successful completion of a program. Unless you blurt it out on your own in court, you will not be admitting guilt at any stage, and it is not a guilty plea.

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