Being arrested for the first time can be one of the most stressful experiences in one’s life. An arrest has the potential to change everything – where you work, go to school, your car insurance, where you live, and how others see you. If this is the first time you have found yourself in the position, do not walk into court and plea Guilty or Nolo Contendere, because there may be another option for you. A Georgia criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate something different – something that doesn’t require you to plead guilty. If you enter a plea of Guilty or Nolo, the arrests and convictions do not age off your record; they remain on there forever. There are only a few ways that an arrest is restricted off your record from the public seeing it. Participating in a pretrial diversion program is one of those ways and might be an option to explore for your criminal case. Several counties and cities across Georgia have pretrial diversion programs designed to give you a second chance, and serve as an alternative to jail and convictions.
Pretrial diversion is an alternative to the traditional court process. It allows some first offenders, and even still others who have a history, to complete requirements prior to a court date in exchange for their case being completely dismissed. Requirements may include community service, theft class, or anger management. Pretrial diversion may be available for you if you were arrested in Georgia for Possession of Marijuana, Possession of drugs, Shoplifting, Battery, Assault, Minor in Possession, and the list goes on. A criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable with the court can negotiate that the prosecutors potentially divert you from prosecution altogether, resulting in your case being dismissed.
Once you successfully complete a pretrial diversion program in Georgia as a first offender, the arrest itself disappears off your criminal record from the public’s view, and you can truthfully state with pride that you have never been convicted of a crime before. Your case will be dismissed in its entirety and you can breathe a sigh of relief.
If you are interested in resolving your case through pretrial diversion in Georgia, call us today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999. W. Scott Smith and his team have years and years of experience negotiating clients into pretrial diversion programs with the most favorable terms, even if the clients were ineligible under the State’s traditional guidelines.
by Mary Agramonte