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What is Diversion?

What happens after the court receives the referral?

Who can Divert?

What type of consequences must be completed?

What is diversion?

Diversion allows a juvenile to avoid formal court processing and to have their offense adjusted if the juvenile completes one or more consequences.  The county attorney has the sole discretion to divert the prosecution of a juvenile accused of committing an incorrigible or delinquent act.  A juvenile identified as a chronic violent offender, or who is referred for a DUI offense is not eligible for Diversion.

Who can divert?

The county attorney has the sole discretion to divert the prosecution of a juvenile accused of committing an incorrigible or delinquent act to a community based alternative program operated by the county attorney or to a diversion program administered by the Juvenile Court.

What happens after the court receives the referral?

Once a referral is received on a juvenile, a probation/intake officer initiates an interview with the juvenile and at least one parent or guardian.  This includes:

  • Conducting the interview
  • Assessing the risk/needs
  • Determining victims involved
  • Processing a petition (if applicable)
  • Referring the youth to a diversion service

A typical interview takes 1 to 1 hours.  If, during the interview, the juvenile acknowledges responsibility for an offense (based on the referral), the probation/intake officer begins the process of adjusting the referral.  Adjustment of the referral can only occur after the juvenile completes one or more conditions (consequences) as assigned by the probation/intake officer.

What type of consequences must be completed?

The consequences could be one or more of the following:

  1. Participation in unpaid community service work.
  2. Participation in a counseling program, which is designed to strengthen family relationships and to prevent repetitive juvenile delinquency.
  3. Participation in an education program, approved by the court, which has as its goal the prevention of further delinquent behavior.
  4. Participation in an education program, approved by the court which is designed to deal with ancillary problems experienced by the juvenile, such as alcohol or drug abuse.
  5. Participation in a non-residential program of rehabilitation or supervision offered by the court or offered by the community youth serving agency and approved by the court.
  6. Payment of restitution to the victim of the delinquent act.
  7. Payment of a monetary assessment.

In some cases, the juvenile court, in coordination with the county attorneys office, has created community based alternative programs where panels of community members hear the juvenile's case and determine the consequences.

  • The participants in a community based alternative program can agree to any legally reasonable consequences for the juvenile offender, with the exception of confinement.  The program participants, juvenile and juvenile's parent(s) or guardian and victim sign a written contract agreeing on resolution of the matter.  The parent(s) or guardian agree to ensure that the juvenile complies with the contract.

  • If a juvenile complies with the consequences set forth by the probation officer or community based alternative program, the county attorney will not file a petition in Juvenile Court.  Resolution of the program cannot be used against the juvenile in any further proceeding, is not an adjudication of incorrigibility or delinquency or conviction of a crime, does not impose civil disabilities resulting from a conviction and does not disqualify the juvenile in any civil service application or appointment.

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