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Understand How You Can Benefit From Criminal Diversion


Diversion is an important part of criminal law. Diversion is the practical equivalent of probation, but if you successfully complete your diversionary period, you may then qualify for expungement. (For a more detailed explanation of expungement, please refer to my expungement page.) In other words, if you complete your diversionary period you may then qualify to have the criminal charge against you ultimately erased from your permanent record.

Misdemeanor Diversion

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, diversion programs exist at both the misdemeanor and felony levels. Misdemeanor diversion often involves community service hours and completion of educational classes. These efforts will often be supervised and corroborated by a pretrial services officer who will then report to the court/judge that you have completed the terms of your diversion. Upon the completion of your diversionary period, the case against you would then be dismissed. Many people confuse the dismissal that results from a diversion completion with expungement. Just because the case against you is dismissed, it does not mean that the case was expunged. Unless you obtain an expungement, the criminal charge will still be visible on your permanent record. Yes, your record will now reflect that the case against you was dismissed/diverted, but the blemish and stigma of the criminal charge remains on your record.

Felony Diversion

There is also a felony diversion program under Kentucky law. Felony diversion often involves probationary supervision of several years. The probationary supervision period is practically identical to felony probation. In both circumstances, one reports to a probation officer typically on a monthly basis and is subject to the customary terms of probation supervision. At the conclusion of the felony diversion period, however, the case is eligible to be dismissed/diverted. Once the dismissal is accomplished, then the defendant is eligible for expungement. One must recognize that the dismissal of the charges at the completion of the diversionary period is not automatic. A motion must be filed to accomplish this dismissal, then the statutory period must lapse, and only then does one qualify for expungement. Do not confuse diversion with expungement. They are complementary legal mechanisms, but they are not the same thing. People who confuse the two assume that after the completion of their probationary term all is well, and the charge against them has been erased — they are wrong, and often find out the hard way when future employers spot the criminal blemish on their permanent records. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Deferred Prosecution

In June of 2011, a new law was passed (House Bill 463) that adds a potential alternative to diversion in regard to felony possession of a controlled substance offenses. The new law created “deferred prosecution” for possession of a controlled substance offenses. Deferred prosecution has multiple potential differences from felony diversion, and it is important that you obtain experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel to provide you with the expert legal advice that you need if you find yourself in the situation of seeking diversion or deferred prosecution.

The above is a simple summary of diversion. It is important to have a lawyer with the experience, ability and thoroughness to obtain your entry into the diversion program and prepare you to succeed in the diversion program. If you have been charged with a crime in the Covington, Florence, or Newport areas and would like the possibility of entering a diversion program and would also like expert guidance in how to successfully complete the program, contact me online call me at 859-431-9999 for the help you need.