Exploring Diversion Programs in Arizona

Feature Article

Diversion programs are an alternative to incarceration that provide counseling, treatment, and education to offenders in an effort to keep them from re-offending. Arizona is among the states with a robust diversion program. They offer a range of diversion programs for misdemeanors and felonies alike. In this article, we will delve into the details of the diversion programs offered in Arizona and explore how they work.

How Arizona Misdemeanor Diversion Programs Work

Arizona has several misdemeanor diversion programs, including the TASC (Treatment Assessment Screening Center) diversion program and the Justice Education and Treatment (JET) program. TASC is a diversion program designed for individuals with a history of substance abuse. JET is a program that emphasizes cognitive-behavioral therapy, education, and mentoring. Both programs offer counseling, treatment, and education in an effort to reduce recidivism.

Who Can Participate in a Diversion Program

The eligibility for a diversion program is determined by the prosecuting agency or a court. To be eligible, the offender must typically have no prior felony convictions and not currently be facing charges for a violent offense. An offender must also meet other requirements specific to each program.

Diversion Program Requirements and Costs

Costs for diversion programs can vary based on the program and the level of treatment required. For example, TASC has a sliding fee scale based on the offender's income level. JET requires a $325 enrollment fee and a $75 monthly fee. Generally, offenders are required to attend counseling sessions, drug treatment programs, educational classes, or community service in order to complete their diversion program successfully. Failure to complete these requirements can result in the offender being convicted of the original offense.

Felony Diversion Program (formerly Drug Diversion and Felony Pretrial Intervention Program)

The Felony Diversion Program in Arizona is designed for non-violent offenders charged with a drug-related felony offense. This program offers counseling, drug treatment, education, and community service as an alternative to incarceration. In order to successfully complete the program, the offender must meet all requirements assigned and should refrain from drug use. Upon successful completion, the felony charges are dismissed from their record.

Domestic Violence Excessive Response Diversion (DVER)

The DVER program is designed for situations where a victim receives excessive force in a domestic violence situation without serious injury. The offender must plead guilty to a class 1 misdemeanor, and the judgment is deferred while they complete the DVER program. The DVER program is a 26-week counseling program that includes group counseling, individual counseling, and education classes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are diversion programs only available for drug-related offenses? No, there are various diversion programs available for multiple offenses in Arizona.

Can I still participate in a diversion program if I have a prior record? Typically, only offenders with no prior felonies are eligible.

How A Criminal Defense Attorney can help

A criminal defense attorney can help an offender charged with a crime understand the options and determine whether a diversion program is a viable option. An attorney can also work with the courts or the prosecuting agency to negotiate plea bargains that include diversion programs.

Diversion programs can offer a second chance to individuals with criminal records. They provide an opportunity for rehabilitation and a chance to avoid the lifelong consequences associated with a felony conviction. Arizona has a number of programs available to offenders, and it is important to understand the differences between them in order to determine the best course of action.

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