Don't take diversion at your first court date

Posted by Peter Carini | Aug 04, 2015 | 0 Comments

If you have been charged with DUII, take your time.

You may believe that you will lose your chance to get into diversion if you don't apply for diversion at your first court date. Or, you may be willing at this point to say you're guilty and get into diversion to “just get it over with.” 

Despite what you may have been told, or what you may be told when you go to court, diversion will not take your DUI off of your criminal record or your driving record. Although your case will be dismissed at the end of a year if you successfully complete diversion, the record of your arrest, your guilty plea and your entry into the diversion program will stay on your criminal record forever.Unfortunately, there's no easy way out. Your guilty plea and your entry into diversion will only start a new round of problems.

Many employers, professional licensing authorities and the military will consider your diversion to be a conviction. Some countries (including Canada) will not let you in if there's a diversion on your record. Your decision to enter diversion will follow you for the rest of your life.

When you come to court the first time, a judge may give you the impression that you will lose “opportunity” to enter diversion if you don't agree to file a diversion petition immediately.

A judge also may tell you that you if your "application" to enter diversion is "approved," then your case will be dismissed at the end of a year if you complete all the requirements of the diversion program. The judge, the government's lawyer and even the public defender will tell you, all you will have to do to get into diversion is plead guilty to the crime of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant.

Remember, under the law, you have 30 days from your first court appearance to decide on diversion. The court and the Government's attorney will not question your right to review your police reports, consult with an attorney and consider any plea offer in advance of your second court date.

Unfortunately, some judges and attorneys don't consider it a priority to tell persons accused of DUI that they can take the time they need to make informed decisions about how to respond to any pending criminal charge.

Before you take the plunge off the “diversion” cliff, it's best to see what's below. Entering a guilty plea at a first court appearance to get into the DUII diversion program could be the worst decision a person could make. Think it over before you commit.

Find out more. Call Carini & Francis at (541) 779-5000.

About the Author

Peter Carini

Criminal Defense trial attorney. DUII law specialist.

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