The Court’s pre-trial diversion program for alcohol-related offenses and certain drug-related offenses is intended to provide a short period of supervision and education to those persons who (1) have been charged with any of several alcohol-related misdemeanor offenses or certain drug-related offenses that are minor misdemeanors or fourth-degree misdemeanors 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 or any alcohol-related traffic offenses) whose pending charges are limited to any or all of the following: (1) misdemeanor violations of Chapter 4301 of the Revised Code (regulating the sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol) or comparable municipal ordinances, (2) minor misdemeanor violations of R.C. 2925.11(A) and 2925.11(C)(3)(a) (barring the possession or use of less than 100 grams of marijuana) or comparable municipal ordinances, or (3) fourth-degree misdemeanor violations of R.C. 2925.14(C)(1) (barring the use or possession of drug paraphernalia) or comparable municipal ordinances.
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 alcohol-education or drug-education class, and (B) attend a treatment program for alcohol or drug dependency if directed to do so by the Court’s probation department;
2. Complete 20 hours of community service under the direction of the Court’s probation department;
3. Report to the probation department as scheduled, and notify the probation department 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 probation department, 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 drug or alcohol class, pay the cost of any drug or alcohol assessment, pay the full amount of any restitution owed to any victims of the offense(s), and pay any court costs associated with the case.
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.