Written by attorney Katrina Ann Martin

Diversion and You

Diversion and You

You may have heard through the grapevine about diversion in regards to your plea. A diversion program is for first time offenders to plead guilty, be sentenced to an enhanced probation, and if that probation is successfully completed then the charges are dismissed.

There are three main diversion programs that are most commonly offered. One for young offenders, called the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, one for controlled substance use, referred to as 7411, and one for domestic violence.

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act is available to people between the ages of 17-20. It follows the logic of every dog gets one bite. If the youth pleads guilty he will be placed in prison or probation (neither can exceed three years), however he will not have a conviction. When the term of sentence is over then the record is sealed and there is no criminal record. There are a few crimes which are not allowed to receive this diversion, they include: a felony where the maximum sentence is life imprisonment, a major controlled substance offense, or traffic offense. Like all of the diversion programs a youth offender will only be granted diversion under Holmes Youthful Trainee Act once.

The diversion program for controlled substance offense is loosely referred to as 7411. This is because the statute for the offense is MCL 333.7411. 7411 is offered to a first time offender of a controlled substance offense. It is most commonly offered in marijuana crimes. If 7411 is offered, the plea is not entered if you complete probation successfully. This is called a deferred plea. The best part of 7411 is that there are no licensing sanctions. If you are convicted of a drug charge then you have at least a 6 month license suspension. 7411 allows you to keep your license throughout the entire probation process. Generally the probation process will require that you receive no new offenses of any kind and random drug testing. Once completed, you still have your license and you don’t have a drug conviction.

The last most common diversion program is for first time domestic violence offenders. Domestic violence is a very serious crime in Michigan. Under MCL 769.4a, a first time offender is able to have the domestic violence plea left off of your record like 7411 if you complete the probation. The probation period can last as long as 12 months. During those 12 months the court will require some sort of anger management classes. The court can also require that you abstain from drinking and using any controlled substances, and order random testing to make sure you are in compliance. The payoff is the lack of domestic violence conviction on your record.

Now that you know what sorts of diversion programs are available, how do you get them? Well it’s a multipart process. The easiest way is to have your attorney negotiate them in the plea bargain. If the prosecutor’s office issues a recommendation for a diversion program or has no objection to you being given a diversion program, then you are halfway there. Next, the court will look into whether you are eligible. This means that they will look at your criminal record for past offenses. Finally, your judge will have to agree. If the prosecutor recommends is, the judge usually allows it pending eligibility.

If you need a lawyer to fight to get you diversion, contact us.

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