Officials in California expanded the state’s budget to increase resources for a new diversion program which teams up offenders with their victims to help avoid a criminal conviction. As reported by CBS Sacramento, this diversion program aims to help offenders who are accused of serious crimes, such as threats, assault and robbery. At Bird & Van Dyke, we represent individuals who are facing serious charges, and we understand how the Golden State’s diversion program may assist you or a loved one in certain circumstances.

For offenders who are not accused of murder or sex-related charges, the diversion program offers an alternative to a conviction and the punishment of incarceration. California Law enforcement officials are instead attempting to restore justice through open discussions between the victim and his or her offender. The intent is for victims to heal from an offender’s sincere apology and for the offender to avoid engaging in criminal actions in the future.

A victim may ask the offender directly to pay restitution, such as for their medical expenses, or the victim may seek payments to compensate for time lost from work. Some offenders may also be required to undergo alcohol or substance abuse treatment in order to successfully graduate from the program.

Over the past three-and-a-half years, San Joaquin County’s diversion program graduated 76 individuals, and only three of them have been accused of committing new crimes. While not everyone will benefit from completing the diversion program, if you decide to apply for it and qualify, a successful graduation may result in your not having a criminal conviction.

Our page on criminal defense provides more information about the types of charges for which adults and juveniles may require strong legal advocacy.