Written by attorney Grover Christopher Collins

Judicial Diversion

Judicial Diversion in Tennessee

What is it?

Under TCA 40-35-313, a judge may place a defendant on judicial diversion. During this diversion period, the plea of guilty is held by the court and not entered. If the defendant successfully completes probation, the offense will be never be entered into their criminal history. While there is a list of qualifying offenses you can check here, the basic parameters are any C, D, or E felony and misdemeanors offenses.

*What are the factors for Judicial Diversion in Tennessee? *

(1) the defendant’s amenability to correction;

(2) the circumstances of the offense;

(3) the defendant’s criminal record;

(4) the defendant’s social history;

(5) the defendant’s physical and mental health;

(6) the deterrence value to the defendant and others;

7) whether judicial diversion will serve the interests of the public well as the defendant.

What’s a real world example of Judicial Diversion in Tennessee?

In the case of State v. Patel, the court denied judicial diversion. Here are the facts: Mr. Patel and his wife owned an operated several convenience stores in Warren County, Tn. Officers had learned that the stores were selling various types of synthetic drugs in the store. The synthetic drug was a synthetic type of marijuana known as DANK. The dank was in brightly colored packaging and sold near the front of the store near various other energy pills, incense, and sexual enhancement products. The DANK was not hidden in any way from the average customer.

After an undercover investigation, the Patels were charged with selling synthetic drugs. After a guilty plea to lesser charges the Patels asked for judicial diversion on the charges. The Patels both had clean histories and had never been charged with any other offense. The Patels testified at the hearing that neither of them knew the DANK was an illegal substance. The Patels had exhibited high social conduct in the community.

The judge found that Mr. Patel had purchased the DANK from someone he did not know and then put the product on his shelves. The judge went on to point out that Mr. Patel was making a significant profit of the sale of the DANK. The judge denied the judicial diversion based on the final factor and the second factor. Because the judge didn’t like the circumstances of the offense and didn’t feel diversion would serve the public interest, he denied judicial diversion. The Court of Appeals upheld his decision.

Making the right argument to the judge is critical in these types of motions. If you would like to apply for Judicial Diversion in Tennessee, make sure you have a strong advocate in your corner. If you or someone you know would like to talk about the possibility of judicial diversion in Tennessee contact me today.

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