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Michigan courts often have pretrial diversion programs that offer an opportunity to avoid a permanent criminal conviction on your record.
On a nice spring day in April 2015, a tour bus carrying rapper Nelly was stopped and searched for drugs. When all was said and done, the police found marijuana, methamphetamine and other drugs. Nelly and some of his crew were arrested on felony and misdemeanor drug charges.
NELLY GETS NO JAIL AND QUALIFIES FOR PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION
When Nelly’s tour bus was pulled over for not having two required stickers while traveling through Tennessee, troopers smelled marijuana and searched the bus for drugs. Nelly, known for his songs “Country Grammar” and “It’s Getting Hot in Herre” was charged with felony possession of drugs, simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Instead of heading to trial, the rapper participated in Tennessee’s pretrial diversion program. He was put on probation and 11 months later, after staying out of trouble, his record was cleared.
WHAT ARE DIVERSION AGREEMENTS AND DO THEY EXIST IN MICHIGAN?
Michigan courts often have pretrial diversion programs that offer an opportunity to avoid a permanent criminal conviction on. Placement in pretrial diversion program is typically available to first time offenders who are charged with lower level, non-violent crimes. Placement is not available for violent crimes and most weapons offenses.
In exchange for avoiding a permanent criminal conviction, a criminal defendant completes certain requirements which may include probation, a fine, restitution and/or public service.
Pretrial diversion is based on the theory that many criminal defendants, as well as society, are better served by corrective action, rather than incarceration and other harsh penalties. There is a high likelihood that low-level offenders who are imprisoned will have trouble with the law in the future and be incarcerated again.
PROGRAMS VARY BY COUNTY
No state-wide pretrial diversion program exists in Michigan. Each county offering the program determines which crimes qualify and other eligibility criteria. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney knows the criteria for program and who is eligable.
When charges make you ineligible, a good criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate reduced charges that make the criminal defendant eligible for a pretrial diversion program.
A QUALITY DEFENSE ATTORNEY MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Nelly did not qualify for a pretrial diversion, because he was a celebrity. He qualified because he was a first-time offender, there was no victim, and his crime was non-violent. Other factors in his favor may have included:
- He could afford to pay the accessed fines
- He had a stable residence.
- He had a stable revenue stream (everyday people must have a job).
Can an average, everyday person get a pretrial diversion if their qualifications are like Nelly’s? The answer is NO
! People who qualify for diversion agreements often end up entering into guilty plea agreements and have a criminal conviction placed on their record. This happens because:
- Their attorney lacks the knowledge.
- Their attorney is not committed to going the extra mile and getting the best possible outcome.
A good criminal defense attorney knows who qualifies for diversion agreements. A good criminal defense attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor to protect your future.
Why You Need a Metro Detroit Criminal Defense Attorney
Pretrial diversion programs vary from county to county across the state of Michigan. Only experienced criminal defense attorneys that practice in metropolitan Detroit, MI know what pretrial diversion programs are available in that area.
About Carl Jordan
Attorney Carl Jordan who serves Metro Detroit, believes that a poor decision shouldn’t ruin your life forever. He understands that your future is at stake. As a result, he passionately fights for each client to obtain the best possible result – which could include a pretrial diversion program in Michigan.
If you are facing criminal charges contact Attorney Jordan at 248 358-6647 for a free consultation.