Florida's Misdemeanor Pretrial Diversion Program
If you are facing criminal charges and this is your first brush with the law, there is a possibility that you may qualify for one of Florida's first-time offender programs, such as the Misdemeanor Pretrial Diversion Program (PDP).
The PDP offers first-time "qualified" offenders a favorable alternative to a traditional prosecution. Under this program, participants sign a contract with the state to waive their right to a speedy trial. In such cases, the offender agrees to comply with all of the program's requirements.
Under the PDP program, participants are supervised for 6 to 12 months depending on the offense committed. In return for successfully completing the program, the state agrees to drop the criminal charges, which enables the offender to avoid a criminal conviction.
Note: all referrals to the Misdemeanor PDP must stem from the Office of the State Attorney.
What Are the Program Requirements?
The program requirements, may include:
- Payment of program fees ($360-$720)
- Victim restitution (if any)
- If necessary, no contact with the victim
- Stay in touch with a criminal justice officer
- Minimum 32 hours of community service
- Psychological or psychiatric evaluation, including any recommended treatment at the participant's expense
- Substance abuse evaluation, and treatment if recommended, at the participant's expense
- If necessary, attendance at AA or NA meetings
- Submit to random drug and alcohol testing
In addition to the above, the participant must complete any educational classes required such as a 26-week batterer intervention course (domestic violence cases), anger management classes, adult education/GED, HIV awareness program, etc.
The Office of the State Attorney also offers a Worthless Check Diversion Program for first-time worthless check offenders. This program allows first-time offenders to avoid formal court proceedings by paying restitution to the victims, and by completing a class on financial responsibility.
If all requirements are met, the criminal charges are dropped.
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