The Court’s pre-trial diversion program for theft and unauthorized-use offenders is intended to provide a short period of supervision and education to those persons who (1) have been charged with certain theft-related misdemeanor offenses and (2) are willing to accept responsibility for their misconduct. The program is aimed at first-time offenders. Those who successfully complete the program will not have a criminal conviction on their records. The goal of the diversion program is to encourage first-time offenders to learn from their mistakes, and to discourage them from further misconduct in the community.
The program is open to first-time offenders (persons who have not already participated in the diversion program and who have not been convicted as an adult in this or other courts for any other criminal activity) whose pending misdemeanor charges are limited to any or all of the following: (1) Theft under Section 2913.02 of the Revised Code or comparable municipal ordinances, (2) Unauthorized Use of Property under Section 2913.04 of the Revised Code or comparable municipal ordinances, (3) an attempt to commit either or both of those offenses under Section 2923.02 of the Revised Code or comparable municipal ordinances, or (4) complicity in the commission of either or both of those offenses under Section 2923.03 of the Revised Code or comparable municipal ordinances.
The program is not available to any defendant who (1) is accused of stealing or attempting to steal firearms or other weapons, (2) used a firearm or other weapon in any way while committing the charged offense, or (3) harmed or threatened to harm anyone while committing the charged offense.
If the prosecutor (1) confirms that a defendant is eligible for the program and (2) recommends that the defendant participate in it, the Court will then ask the defendant if he or she wishes to participate in the program. Before making the recommendation, the prosecutor must consult any victim of the alleged crime(s) and must consider any victim’s views. Admission to the program is not automatic, and the assigned judge retains the discretion to reject the proposed participation of any given defendant.
If the prosecutor recommends that the defendant participate in the diversion program, if the defendant wishes to do so, and if the assigned judge approves the defendant’s participation, the defendant must - at an arraignment or a pretrial hearing - do all of the following:
1. Waive, in writing, his or her right to a trial and - if not represented by an attorney - the right to be represented by an attorney;
2. Agree, in writing, to pay a $150.00 fee for supervision services associated with the diversion program as well as any other court costs for the case; and
3. Enter a guilty plea to the charge or charges.
When the defendant enters a guilty plea, the prosecutor will agree at the same time that the defendant may withdraw that plea in 90 days if the defendant completes all of the requirements of the diversion program.
The Court will then find the defendant guilty and will impose on the defendant an appropriate sentence for the charge or charges. Enforcement of that sentence will be stayed for 90 days.
Within 90 days after entering the plea, the defendant must:
1. (A) Complete an appropriate theft-related education class, such as a class on the social and economic consequences of shoplifting and on effective ways to control the impulse to steal, and (B) attend any additional theft-related or impulse-control treatment program if directed to do so by the Prosecutor's Office;
2. Complete 20 hours of community service under the direction of the Prosecutor's Office Diversion Manager;
3. Report to the Prosecutor's Office as scheduled, and notify the Diversion Manager about any address changes and any events that affect the participant’s ability to complete the program;
4. Refrain from committing any other criminal offense or any drug-related or alcohol-related traffic offense while participating in the program;
5. Submit to drug or alcohol testing whenever directed to do so by the Diversion Manager, and agree that any failure to submit to those tests or any illegal drug or alcohol use while in the program will result in the defendant’s removal from the diversion program;
6. Pay the $150.00 supervision fee, pay the cost of the appropriate theft-related class, pay the full amount of any restitution owed to any victims of the offense(s), and pay any court costs associated with the case.
7. Cooperate with the prosecutor in any criminal case against any co-defendants, and testify honestly in any court hearings involving those persons.
Once the 90-day period following the defendant’s guilty plea has expired, the Court will either (1) approve the defendant’s request to withdraw the guilty plea and will dismiss the case against the defendant if the defendant has complied with the requirements of the program, or (2) enforce the previously suspended sentence if the defendant has not complied with the requirements of the program.