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Texas Diversion Programs

Knowledgeable Defense Lawyer Offers Guidance on Diversion Programs in Texas

San Antonio firm advises on intervention options that can help clients avoid jail time

The Texas criminal justice system includes several diversion programs that allow first-time offenders to avoid jail time, and possibly even criminal conviction, as long as they fulfill court-ordered requirements. At Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio, you receive trustworthy guidance from a Board-certified criminal defense attorney about options that might be available to help avoid harsh punishment. For eligible defendants, this can mean applying to enter a pretrial diversion program. However, acceptance is never guaranteed. Retaining a skilled and reputable defense attorney like Kevin L. Collins can be the key to obtaining a positive resolution. 

Types of diversion programs available in TX 

Texas law authorizes counties to establish pretrial intervention programs which the courts deem appropriate. Depending on the county where a trial is held, a defendant could apply for one of the following:

  • Drug Court — This is a tribunal for first-time offenders charged with minor drug crimes, such as simple possession. 
  • Mental Health Court — The creation of this program is meant to assist first-time offenders who would be better served by receiving mental health services than being put behind bars.
  • Veterans Treatment Court — Targeted intervention is available for those who served in the U.S. armed forces and have a disability, substance abuse problem and/or mental health issue.
  • Juvenile diversion programs — Minors can receive assistance to correct antisocial behavior that can lead to future arrests for more serious crimes. 
  • Domestic violence intervention — In cases involving alleged domestic violence, programs exist to address the root causes of abusive behavior while providing safeguards for victims.
  • Drunk-driving diversion — Drivers without prior convictions, whose incident did not involve a crash, can enter a program that typically lasts 12 months and includes alcoholism education and treatment.

Eligibility and other requirements, as well as the availability of the programs, vary from county to county. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can explain if you qualify for one of these options.

Benefits of participating in Texas pretrial diversion programs

Pretrial diversion programs are designed to alleviate court congestion while helping first-time offenders correct issues that led to their arrest. Defendants who enter these programs can receive one or more of these benefits:  

  • Expunction of the criminal record
  • Access to rehabilitative services
  • Avoidance of incarceration

The ultimate benefit is being able to continue with your life on course without losing opportunities for employment or education because of your arrest.

Process for entering a Texas pretrial diversion program

Defendants who wish to enter a pretrial diversion program must make a request of the presiding officer judge and get the prosecutor’s approval. In general, an applicant must satisfy the following two conditions:

  • First-time offender
  • The charge is a misdemeanor or a low-level nonviolent felony

Some programs have age restrictions. 

In a diversion program, some of these requirements might exist:

  • Perform hours of community service
  • Work or attend school
  • Submit to a mental health evaluation and receive mental health treatment
  • Submit to routine drug tests
  • Attend alcohol or substance-abuse education classes
  • Attend counseling sessions
  • Attend status conferences
  • Avoid alcohol or drugs
  • Meet with a probation officer
  • Avoid illegal activity
  • Avoid associating with criminal offenders
  • Pay fees or fines
  • Provide restitution to victims

Upon completing the program, the court may vacate criminal charges and expunge the offender’s arrest record. 

Contact a Board-certified criminal defense attorney to discuss pretrial diversion in Texas

Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio provides trustworthy guidance and representation for clients who might benefit from pretrial diversion programs. To schedule a consultation with a Board-certified criminal law and juvenile law attorney, call 210-598-8629 or contact the office online

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We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected]. Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
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