What is Judicial Diversion?

Sometimes there really are second chances
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What does judicial diversion mean in Tennessee?

The bottom line: Judicial diversion is a program in Tennessee that allows eligible defendants to avoid a criminal conviction and have their charges dismissed and expunged upon successful completion of probation.

Judicial diversion, sometimes called “40-35 diversion,” is a second chance for first-time offenders to avoid a criminal conviction, if the district attorney agrees to make it part of a plea agreement.

choice of two pats

To be eligible for judicial diversion in Tennessee, you must meet certain criteria: you must not have been previously sentenced to jail/prison time for a felony or for an A misdemeanor; you must not have participated in judicial diversion or pre-trial diversion in the past; you must be charged with a qualifying offense (judicial diversion is not available for most violent crimes or for DUI); and you must apply for and receive a certificate of eligibility from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (the application costs $100.00).

How can I get judicial diversion?

To take advantage of judicial diversion, you must plead guilty to a crime, but the judge does not enter judgment at that time. Instead, the judge waits to enter judgment until you have had an opportunity to complete probation.

During this probationary period, you will be required to check in regularly with your probation officer, pass random drug tests, engage in lawful behavior (meaning, no new arrests), and comply with all conditions of your probation. Common conditions include community service, classes, and drug and alcohol treatment programs.

What are the advantages to judicial diversion?

If you successfully complete probation, the charges against you will be dismissed and the charge(s) can then be expunged from your record.

If you do not complete your probation requirements, your guilty plea may become final and you may be required to serve your original sentence in jail.

Do I need a lawyer for judicial diversion?

Your criminal defense lawyer will negotiate with the DA for a plea subject to judicial diversion, will apply for diversion eligibility through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, and will counsel you as to whether this is the best option for you.  If you have been charged with a crime, contact Carla Grebert for a consultation.

Quick Guide to Understanding Judical Diversion

Nashville criminal defense attorney Carla Grebert has prepared a handy, printable one-page guide to help you understand judicial diversion.  Click here to get it.

Tenn Assoc of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Bar Association

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