Plea Agreement

Many criminal cases are concluded without a trial through a plea agreement or diversion program. Both of are done solely at the discretion of the prosecutor (the judge does not have to uphold them).

Plea agreement

You agree to plead guilty or no contest to certain charges and the prosecutor agrees to ask the court to dismiss others. Sometimes a prosecutor may amend the complaint to a lesser charge or be more lenient on sentencing recommendations if you agree to plead guilty.

  • The prosecutor cannot initiate plea negotiations. The prosecutor has no obligation to discuss or negotiate your case.
  • In plea negotiations, a prosecutor will consider the effect of the criminal offense on the victim, your criminal history and the seriousness of the crime.

Diversion program

Diversion is only for first time offenders and those who do not appear likely to engage in further criminal conduct.

In diversion, you enter into a contract to comply with certain conditions and agree to be supervised by a probation officer for a period of time, usually one year. Other conditions may include attending classes, counseling, restitution or a no-contact order with the victim(s).

  • By agreeing to the conditions of diversion, you give up the right to a speedy trial, the right to confront witnesses and the right to present evidence.
  • There may be a diversion fee, ranging from $200 to $1,000, depending on the nature of the charges.
    • Any evaluation, education or treatment programs required as a part of the agreement will be at your own expense; some may be included in the diversion fee.
  • You will not be allowed to consume alcohol or drugs while on diversion and will be required to submit to random testing.

If you successfully complete all conditions, the charges against you will be dismissed. If you fail to comply with a condition, the diversion agreement may be terminated, the charges against you immediately reinstated, and a trial will be held on the police reports alone.