Recently the Dekalb District Attorney’s office invited the local criminal defense bar to a lunch and learn to make sure their clients had all the knowledge about programs designed to give members of our community a second chance when facing a felony criminal indictment.
This talk made news in the legal newspaper Daily Report.
In short, the District Attorney’s office reviewed eligibility for the Dekalb County Recorder Court’s Diversion Program, Felony Superior Court Pre-Trial Diversion Programs and ARC programs, Drug Court, and Mental Health Treatment Courts.
Generally speaking, diversion programs are an option for first time nonviolent offenders. Usually upon completion all felony charges are dismissed. The program’s requirements very but usually are not as difficult as felony probation and expungement of the arrest is usually included when completed.
Drug courts will allow persons with prior convictions to be admitted, but require a plea to the drugs that will be withdrawn upon completion of the program but if the program is not completed then the Judge may enter the plea of guilty and consider the appropriate sentence. The point of Drug Court is to focus on treatment and sobriety.
A mental health court is an option for persons with mental health diagnosis who have a stable home life. Essentially the program is 18 months long and has no fees. Participants focus on treating and stabilizing their mental health issues. Upon completion their charges are dismissed.