Deferred Adjudication and Pretrial Diversion: Get a Second Chance to Do Good

Many states allow those being charged with a crime to participate in certain programs in order to have the charges against them dropped. These requirements can vary, but often they require a defendant to be on probation and prove to the court that they are able to be rehabilitated without need for heavy sentencing. If the defendant is able to adequately prove their potential for rehabilitation to the court, the charges will often be dismissed.


Two Main Types

The two main forms of this type of case dismissal are pretrial diversion and deferred adjudication. The largest difference between these two programs is that in pretrial diversion, the defendant enters the program before ever having pleaded guilty. Deferred adjudication occurs after the defendant has pleaded no contest or guilty.


Deferred Adjudication

After the defendant has pleaded guilty, the process of deferred adjudication can be started. This process is beneficial to those who have been convicted because it still allows the charges to be taken off the person’s record. If the defendant fails to meet all the requirements set forth by the court, their conviction will stand, and they will be sentenced.


Pretrial Diversion

A pretrial diversion is the more beneficial of the two programs because it allows the person to try and remove their charges before ever being convicted. Just as with deferred adjudication, the defendant must meet certain requirements set forth by the court in order to have their case dismissed. If they fail to do so, the prosecution will continue with their case, and the person will face the full extent of their charges. Pretrial diversion may also be known as:

  • Pretrial intervention
  • Accelerated rehabilitative disposition
  • Deferred prosecution
  • Accelerated pretrial rehabilitation


Possible Complications

There are certain instances when a defendant may not be eligible for these types of programs. The most common type of ineligibility is when a defendant has already been through either of these programs in the past. Past participation makes it highly unlikely that a judge or prosecutor will agree to the defendant’s participation once again. There may also be instances when a prosecutor has to get the consent of the victim of the crime before the defendant can take part in the programs. If the victim does not agree to the defendant’s participation, the criminal charges will stand.


A Chance at a New Start

These types of programs give those who have made mistakes the chance to avoid the heavy charges that come with some crimes. They test the defendant to see if he is truly ready to make a change and once again become a law-abiding member of society.