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  • Last modified 31 days ago (Nov. 16, 2017)

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Diversion agreement an option in court

Staff writer

Driving under the influence charges, traffic infractions, and some criminal charges can be resolved in county court with an agreement known as a “diversion.”

“Diversion is kind of a second chance for people who haven’t had prior convictions,” County Attorney Courtney Boehm said.

A diversion agreement doesn’t eliminate fines, fees, and court costs. Those must be paid along with a diversion fee ranging from $125 to $200, an application fee of $45, and restitution owed in the case.

The diversion fee, paid to the county attorney’s office, goes into a separate fund to be used for expenses incurred in prosecution of criminal cases.

“It’s used as a way to help aid the office in our work,” Boehm said.

When a diversion agreement is reached, court proceedings in the case stop. At the end of the diversion period, if all the conditions have been met and the defendant has not been charged with any other offense, the charge is dismissed.

“The case becomes a dismissal because of a diversion, so they would have a diversion on their record instead of a conviction,” Boehm said.

To be eligible for diversion, it must be the defendant’s first serious criminal offense, they must be able to pay any restitution to the victim, the county attorney must believe the defendant will cooperate with and benefit from the terms of the agreement, and the application submitted in a timely fashion, along with the application fee.

“If there are victims, I always consult with them to see if they are OK with a diversion or if they want any special conditions,” Boehm said.

If a defendant doesn’t comply with the terms of the diversion agreement, the county attorney then will file a motion in court to terminate the agreement. If the judge agrees, the original charges proceed as if the agreement had never been made.

For a traffic diversion, speed must be no more than 20 mph over the speed limit and the defendant must not have more than two moving violations within 18 months of the current citation.

Traffic diversions are usually six months long and the diversion fee is $125.

DUI and criminal diversions are usually 12 months. For a DUI diversion, the defendant must not have had a DUI diversion or conviction in the past, the DUI must not have involved a collision causing injury or death, and the blood alcohol content must have been .2 or below.

A DUI diversion still can raise a driver’s insurance rates if it shows up when an insurance company checks a driver’s record.

A misdemeanor diversion fee is $125 and court costs are $158. A felony diversion fee is $200 and court costs are $193.

Community service is typically part of a diversion agreement, with 30 to 45 hours service for a misdemeanor and 60 to 80 hours service for a felony.

Last modified Nov. 16, 2017

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