By definition, diversion is “an instance of turning something aside from its course.” For a lot of misdemeanor crimes, mainly committed in Fort Walton Beach or Destin, in Okaloosa County, Florida, on Spring Break or Senior Trip, it is a type of case-resolution that is offered and takes a case from the normal judicial or trial track and moves it to an alternative pathway.
When I am explaining this concept to clients I like to compare it to a train on a railroad. Your case is like the train, and the railroad tracks are the criminal court process. As a defense attorney, we can help influence what direction your case travels on the “rail road tracks”, and we can also make sure you don’t get “railroaded” by the prosecution. With most clients, a case will reach its destination and it will either be dismissed, a negotiated plea will be entered, or your case will proceed to jury trial.
In other circumstances, we are able to negotiate to the point where a case may be put on a “diversionary” track. In the railroad example, this is when the train moves switches off the main pathway onto an alternate route. In the legal system, once a case is referred to diversion and a client and his or her attorney accepts the terms of the diversionary contract, their case is on a different track and no longer proceeding on the normal litigation path toward jury trial.
For clients that successfully complete the diversion contract, their cases are dismissed by the State Attorney (sometimes the dismissal is called a no pros or nolle pros, but it is all basically the same thing).
For most clients, resolving their case through diversion is a considered a win. Sure, a clean dismissal is best and if we can get the job done that way we will do it! But if we cannot get a clean dismissal through pre-trial motions and litigation, it is hard to turn down diversion unless we know 100% that we will win at trial.
If the end result is still a dismissal and we avoid even the small risk of a guilty verdict that comes with a jury trial, the smart thing to do is to think long-term and take the sure thing with the sure result. When we combine aggressiveness with intelligence; we are more likely to obtain the best possible result.
If you, a juvenile, or person under 21 has been arrested or cited while visiting the Fort Walton Beach and Destin area, give me a call at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation.