MIP

What is Pre Trial Diversion?

There is a trend in the criminal justice system to treat certain types of non -violent crimes differently than in the past. In part because of overcrowding jails, there are now certain types of resolutions to criminal cases which do not involve incarceration, and also involve resolving cases without any adjudication of guilt.

You may have heard of something called a “Pretrial Diversion Program.” (PTD) What is a PTD and how does it work?

A pretrial diversion program is an agreement which is signed by a Defendant, Prosecutor, and Judge, which says that IF the Defendant does certain things within a specified time, the Prosecutor will ask the Judge to “nolle pros”(not prosecute) the case. PTD’s are generally available in misdemeanor cases, although some Counties in Georgia even allow PTDs in certain drug felony cases.

As an example, many counties now have PTD programs in cases involving underage possession of alcohol. They also have PTD programs involving misdemeanor marijuana possession.

PTDs are usually available to “first time offenders” as a way of allowing a chance to do something which will keep the offender from pleading guilty, being placed on probation, incarcerated, etc. Generally, a Defendant will agree to certain things within 90 to 120 days of signing the PTD agreement. Usually the defendant will pay a “program” fee of between $300 and $600, perform a certain amount of community service, and perhaps complete an alcohol and drug evaluation or DUI Risk Reduction School, as well as complete a certain number of alcohol and drug screens which must come back negative for any alcohol or illegal drugs.

While technically not placed on probation, the offender usually coordinates performance of the conditions of the agreement with a probation officer (PO) of the Court. If the offender completes the PTD satisfactorily, the PO notifies the prosecutor, who then asks the Court to dismiss the case. If the offender fails to complete the program satisfactorily, the PO notifies the prosecutor, and the charges are pursued through the normal court process.

The advantage to agreeing to a PTD is that once everything is completed, your charges are dismissed, AND any arrest record is “restricted” from public access.

While the disadvantage and risk of agreeing to a PTD and failing is minimal, the simple fact is that by NOT complying with the PTD, you have wasted a tremendous opportunity to have a criminal charge totally dismissed.

That is why, in most cases, if a PTD is available I encourage my clients to seriously consider taking advantage of such an opportunity.

 

March’s Case of the Month: How an Underage DUI Became a Simple MIP

This month’s case shows the value of having an experienced DUI attorney who has a reputation for aggressively defending cases.  In an Athens-Clarke County case, my UGA student client was in a Pre Trial Diversion for a previous Minor in Possession (MIP) of Alcohol charge when he was arrested by Athens police and charged with DUI.

case of the monthSo now, he had a DUI charge and the old MIP charge pending in Athens. Unsurprisingly, the police report had my client as being intoxicated, but after reviewing the video, I thought otherwise of the evidence.

The cop had stopped my client for a broken taillight, yet the cop was approaching my client, and it would have been extremely difficult for the cop to actually see a broken taillight. The video revealed my client’s physical appearance to be normal. My client denied drinking and refused a breath test after arrest. Any clues on the Field Sobriety Evaluations were minimal.

Nonetheless, because the client was under 21 at the time of the arrest, any evidence of him having consumed alcohol could have resulted in a guilty verdict. We employed the use of an expert in Field Evaluations who agreed with me that the evidence was slim and was known and respected by the prosecutor. Eventually, we negotiated a plea to 2 MIPs, allowing my client to continue driving and to not have a DUI conviction on his record.

One more thing: We structured the plea so that the MIP pleas would not result in a suspension of client’s license. (He could have had a 1 year suspension!)  It is important that a traffic lawyer knows how to structure pleas for the best possible outcome, and this means the lawyer must have a thorough knowledge of Georgia Traffic Laws.

If you are arrested for DUI or other traffic violations, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also be sure to follow me, Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.