The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those charged with criminal allegations throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.
A decision to accept an offer of Diversion is not to be made lightly. Accepting Diversion often requires waiver of important Constitutional rights, and in some instances can put a person at greater risk than if he or she fought a case at court. If you are offered Diversion, or are interested in a Diversion opportunity, call us to discuss your case at 360-659-4950 or 888-WA-LAW-NW (888-925-2969) for more information.
What Diversion Is and Is Not
Diversion is an alternative to prosecution. Typically it is an agreement between the prosecutor’s office, the defense attorney and the client, in written form. The agreement will set out terms that the client must comply with in order to get the charge dismissed. In some instances the court’s probation department or an outside agency will be involved to monitor compliance.
Many people confuse diversion with a “deferred sentence.” In contrast to a diversion, a deferred sentence requires a conviction, usually by guilty plea; after a period of compliance with certain terms, the conviction is allowed to be removed from a person’s record. However, during that compliance period, the person has been convicted.
Adults and Diversion
In Snohomish County, the prosecuting attorney’s office offers “Treatment Alternatives to Prosecution” (TAP), which applies to some adults with drug and/or alcohol issues, or mental health problems, which have significantly contributed to any alleged criminal behavior.
Depending on the circumstances, a good attorney may be able to get a case into the TAP program, where the end result would be dismissal (or not filing) of charges.
Sometimes an offer for TAP (diversion) will be extended prior to a case being filed. If you have received an offer, contact us ASAP to discuss if this is the right option for you.
Entry into the TAP (diversion) program requires waivers of important constitutional rights, such as the right to a speedy and public jury trial. Before making this important decision, speak with experienced, skilled attorneys about your case. Speak with Ashbach Law Offices, LLC.
Sample Result – Assault 2nd Degree DV – placed into TAP/Diversion – Dismissed
“Diversion” in Municipal Courts
In many municipal courts, it is possible to do an informal diversion, often called a “Stipulated Order of Continuance” or “Prosecutor Offer of Diversion.” If the defense attorney is able to negotiate one of those agreements, and the person subject to the agreement complies with the agreement terms, typically the case is dismissed.
King County and Snohomish County, for example, have set up Drug Courts for offenders charged with drug-based offense. In Snohomish County, it is referred to as “Drug Court” (technically called “Adult Drug Treatment Court”) while in King County it is called “Drug Diversion Court.”
In general, the attorney representing a person charged with a non-violent drug offense has to request that his or her client be screened for the Drug Court program. These programs are fairly rigorous and require significant commitment. However, if person successfully completes the Drug Court program, the charges are dismissed.
Minors and Diversion
Minors are typically given more opportunities for diversion; candidates are usually first- or second-time offenders who commit offenses such as shoplifting, malicious mischief or possession of alcohol. In some instances, diversion is offered for assault-related allegations. The same as with adults, if a minor successfully completes diversion, he or she can honestly say that they have not been convicted of the crime.
Most juvenile diversion programs allow a maximum of two diversion opportunities, and these options typically exist only for misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors.
Be aware that if a minor signs a diversion agreement for an alcohol or drug allegation, the diversion program is required to notify the Department of Licensing, which will typically result in license suspension or revocation.
Even for minors, the decision to enter into a Diversion agreement can have serious consequences. If your child has received an offer of Diversion, or you are interested in pursuing Diversion, contact us at 360-659-4950 or 888-WA-LAW-NW (888-925-2969) to learn more.