Having a criminal record follow you around can have devastating effects on your employment, education, and even housing opportunities. Fortunately, Texas law, through Texas Government Code § 76.011, allows individual counties to provide an alternative to prosecution called “pretrial diversion” programs or PTD. Successful completion of a pretrial diversion program means that the individual will not be charged, or if they were charged, will have their charges dropped. If the individual does not successfully complete the program, however, they remain subject to prosecution.
In Parker County, pretrial diversion is available to young offenders, first offenders, and veterans, provided that they and the offenses they are charged with meet certain criteria.
Young offenders are considered to be those who are 22 years old or younger at the time of the offense and no older than 23 at the time of application. Veterans must currently serve or have previously served the US armed forces, and those who received dishonorable discharges will not be considered for the Veteran’s Program.
To be eligible for any of the pretrial diversion programs, the individual must:
Have never participated in an adult pretrial diversion program anywhere;
Be free of convictions, deferred adjudications, or juvenile adjudications for felonies including those listed under Texas Penal Code § 12.44(a) or (b);
Be charged with an eligible offense.
Eligible offenses for all of the pretrial diversion programs include the following:
PCS PG1 Less than 1 gram
PCS PG2 Less than 1 gram
PCS PG2 1-4 grams
Marijuana possession under 1 pound
For young offenders, the following offenses are also eligible:
Credit/Debit Card Abuse
Fraudulent use/possession of ID info
Burglary of a building
For first-time offenders, offenses involving theft or fraud are ineligible for the program. For both youth and first-time offenders, offenses with a violent component or that show a disregard for the safety of others are not eligible. For veterans, assaultive offenses are considered with the consent of the alleged victim.
Note that sexual offenses, aggravated offenses, and DWI are not eligible for any pretrial diversion program.
To apply for pretrial diversion, the individual must first submit an Application to Participate in Parker County District Attorney’s Pretrial Diversion Program and sign it in front of a notary. If applying for the Veteran’s Program, the individual must provide a Department of Defense Form 214 verifying their service. If charged with a drug-related offense, a urinalysis showing negative results for controlled substances, taken within 30 days of their application to the program, is required.
Once the application is approved, the individual, along with the authorities, will receive notice. The defendant must then submit several signed and sworn documents, including a Waiver of Rights and Stipulations / Agreements, Sworn Admission of Guilt and Agreement as to Admissibility, and a Pretrial Diversion Contract, to the Parker County District Attorney’s Office along with a $200 program fee.
After this step, the individual will be notified of the program intake setting at which they must pass a urinalysis test. If the defendant’s application is denied, there is no review process.
If you are eligible, being admitted to a pretrial diversion program after an arrest can be a critical step to getting your life back on track – and to ensure the best results, you want an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side from the outset, guiding you through the process.
Contact the Law Office of Kenneth W. Mullen PC at (817) 406- 9596 to discuss your situation.