Am I Eligible for Diversion in DC Superior Court, Washington, DC?
What is diversion in the District of Columbia?
You should always explore your options for fun first, even if you think you are the most innocent person on the planet. You can control the outcome of the case. It takes control of the government and if you complete the required course of action, your case will generally be dismissed.
So, if you come across a criminal defense attorney who says they never consider diversion for their client, don’t hire them.
There are 2 processing entities in the District of Columbia. The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia prosecutes most misdemeanors and felonies. The attorney general’s office processes most trafficking and misdemeanor cases.
Diversion in the District of Columbia means that the U.S. Attorney’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office will not prosecute the case if you agree to meet certain conditions. The case deviates from prosecution for 4-6 months when you, the defendant, agree to perform various conditions, such as community service, drug treatment, or mental health treatment. Some diversion options require you to plead guilty and then, after certain conditions are met, the prosecutor will allow you to withdraw your guilty plea after you have completed the agreed-upon task.
Diversion options are constantly changing in the District of Columbia. You should look for an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of DC Superior Court. It may not be in your best interest to hire an “important attorney” who does not practice regularly in Superior Court because diversion options change regularly and the notice is not publicly broadcast to the bar association. Additionally, prosecutors periodically change diversion options based on community needs.
Generally, for a defendant to be eligible for diversion options, they cannot be sentenced or served probation or parole for firearm offenses, sexual offenses (with the exception of solicitation of prostitution), or serious violent offenses within the last ten years. Keep in mind that US prosecutors and the Attorney General have complete discretion and may prohibit a person from deviating regardless of qualification for other reasons.
Lastly, diversion can have immigration consequences, so you should seek out a qualified criminal attorney who is knowledgeable about immigration policies or at least consult with an immigration attorney if you have any questions.
As always, contact a lawyer to help you throughout this process.