The Complete Guide to Pretrial Diversion Agreements

The Complete Guide to Pretrial Diversion Agreements


When facing a criminal charge, the prospect of jail time and obtaining a criminal record can be daunting. A pretrial diversion agreement offers an alternative, allowing individuals to avoid these consequences under certain conditions. This route focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment and is particularly beneficial for first-time or non-violent offenders.

Pretrial diversion programs are designed to address the root causes of criminal behavior, such as substance abuse or mental health issues. By complying with specific conditions outlined in a diversion agreement—like attending counseling, performing community service, or undergoing treatment—defendants have the opportunity to have their charges dismissed, maintaining a clean criminal record.

The importance of these programs lies in their potential to transform lives and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system. They offer a second chance for offenders who demonstrate the willingness to improve their lives, and they help preserve valuable judicial resources that can be focused on more serious crimes.

Detailed infographic showing the process of a pretrial diversion agreement, highlighting the initial arrest, the criteria assessment, the formal agreement detailing required actions like counseling or community service, and the final review leading to case dismissal or continuation based on compliance - pretrial diversion agreement infographic infographic-line-5-steps

Pretrial diversion is an integral part of modern criminal justice reform, aiming for fairer outcomes and better integration of offenders back into society. With systems such as the JED™ Platform, these programs are administered more effectively, ensuring compliance and facilitating successful rehabilitation.

Understanding Pretrial Diversion

What is Pretrial Diversion?

Pretrial diversion is a legal process where certain offenders can avoid traditional prosecution through completing specific requirements set by the court. This option is typically reserved for first-time or low-risk offenders. By entering into a pretrial diversion agreement, the defendant agrees to comply with certain conditions instead of going through a trial.

Purpose of Pretrial Diversion

The main goal of pretrial diversion is to reduce the burden on the court system and to provide a second chance to offenders who are deemed low-risk. It focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Programs like these acknowledge that a supportive and corrective approach can prevent future offenses more effectively than traditional punitive measures.

Benefits of Pretrial Diversion

  • Avoidance of a Criminal Record: Successfully completing a pretrial diversion program usually means the charges are dismissed, leaving the participant without a criminal record.
  • Access to Support Services: Participants may receive counseling, substance abuse treatment, or other support services that address the root causes of their behavior.
  • Cost-Effective: It reduces legal costs for both the participant and the state.
  • Reduces Recidivism: By addressing the underlying issues leading to criminal behavior, these programs can decrease the likelihood of future offenses.

Pretrial diversion not only benefits the individual by steering them away from the criminal justice system but also benefits society by promoting rehabilitation and reducing the rate of recidivism. With platforms like the JED™ Platform, managing and monitoring the effectiveness of these programs becomes streamlined, ensuring that the participants are adhering to their agreements and progressing towards their rehabilitation goals.

Eligibility Criteria for Pretrial Diversion

When considering a pretrial diversion agreement, it’s crucial to understand who is eligible. Not everyone qualifies for these programs, and the criteria can vary by jurisdiction. However, there are common factors that typically influence eligibility.

First-time Offenders

First-time offenders are often prime candidates for pretrial diversion. These individuals have no prior criminal record and are seen as more likely to benefit from rehabilitation rather than traditional prosecution. The idea is to give them a second chance without the burden of a criminal record.

Non-violent Crimes

Eligibility is generally limited to those charged with non-violent crimes. These might include minor drug offenses, petty theft, or other misdemeanors where no physical harm was inflicted on another person. The focus is on crimes where community-based penalties and rehabilitative efforts are deemed more appropriate than incarceration.

Specific Charges

Certain specific charges automatically exclude or include candidates. For instance, as per the Indiana Code 33-39-1-8, serious offenses such as murder or Level 1-4 felonies disqualify an individual from pretrial diversion. Similarly, offenses involving significant managerial roles in large-scale criminal operations or violent gangs are typically excluded.


There are clear exclusions that automatically disqualify individuals from entering pretrial diversion programs. These include:
– Individuals with a history of violent crime.
– Those charged under specific statutes like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act for commercial drivers, as these charges involve broader public safety issues.

Understanding these criteria is crucial for anyone considering a pretrial diversion agreement. It ensures that both the accused and the legal advisors are aware of the possibilities and limitations of such programs. For eligible individuals, these programs offer a valuable opportunity to avoid a criminal record and make positive changes, supported by resources like the JED™ Platform which streamline the management and monitoring of diversion agreements.

The next section will delve into the key components that make up a pretrial diversion agreement and what participants can expect during their diversion period.

Key Components of a Pretrial Diversion Agreement

When entering into a pretrial diversion agreement, several critical components are designed to ensure the offender’s rehabilitation and the safety of the community. These components are not only crucial for fulfilling the legal aspects of the diversion but also serve to provide a structured path towards positive behavioral changes.


Supervision is a cornerstone of any pretrial diversion agreement. It involves regular check-ins with a probation officer or a designated case manager who monitors compliance with the diversion conditions. This may include ensuring that the participant is not engaging in further criminal activities, attending all scheduled meetings, and adhering to any imposed restrictions like curfews or area restrictions.

Community Service

Community service acts as both a form of restitution to the community and a rehabilitative practice for the offender. Participants may be required to engage in specific service activities, which can range from cleaning public spaces to volunteering at local non-profits. This component is designed to foster a sense of community involvement and responsibility.


Counseling sessions, whether individual or group, are often mandated to address underlying issues related to the offender’s behavior. These might include substance abuse counseling, anger management classes, or mental health counseling. The aim is to provide the necessary support to prevent future offenses and assist individuals in dealing with personal issues that may have contributed to their criminal behavior.


Educational programs within a diversion agreement are tailored to prevent future criminal behavior by increasing the participant’s job skills and overall educational attainment. This could include GED preparation classes, vocational training, or workshops on financial literacy. Education serves as a tool for personal development and economic stability, which are key factors in reducing recidivism.


Restitution is particularly important when the crime involves a victim who suffered loss or damage. This component of the diversion agreement requires the offender to compensate the victim, which might involve returning stolen property or compensating for damages or loss. Restitution is a way of making amends and is often seen as a step towards rehabilitation.

Each of these components plays a vital role in the success of a pretrial diversion agreement. They are designed not just to punish but more importantly to rehabilitate the offender and prevent future crimes. By fulfilling these conditions, participants can move forward without a criminal record, ultimately contributing to their long-term personal and professional success. The structured environment of these programs, supported by platforms like JED™ Platform, ensures that participants and administrators can track progress and compliance efficiently.

The next section will discuss the process of securing a pretrial diversion agreement, from the initial application to the final signing of the agreement.

The Process of Securing a Pretrial Diversion Agreement

Securing a pretrial diversion agreement involves several key steps: application, evaluation, agreement drafting, and signing. Each step is crucial and must be handled with attention to detail to ensure the eligibility and suitability of the candidate for diversion.


The first step in securing a pretrial diversion agreement is the application process. This typically involves the offender or their attorney submitting a formal request to the U.S. Attorney’s office or the relevant local prosecutor’s office. The application must include comprehensive details about the offender, the nature of the crime, and any mitigating circumstances that make the offender a suitable candidate for diversion.


Once the application is submitted, it undergoes a thorough evaluation. This evaluation is not just about ensuring the offender meets the eligibility criteria (such as being a first-time offender or committing a non-violent crime) but also involves assessing the offender’s background and the likelihood of rehabilitation through the diversion program.

The U.S. Attorney or prosecutor may collaborate with investigative agents to review the offender’s past behavior and criminal history. The Chief Pretrial Services Officer or Chief Probation Officer plays a significant role here, often making preliminary recommendations based on the offender’s profile and potential for rehabilitation.

Agreement Drafting

If the evaluation is positive, the next step is drafting the pretrial diversion agreement. This document is crucial as it outlines the terms and conditions of the diversion program, which may include supervision requirements, mandatory counseling sessions, community service obligations, and other rehabilitative activities tailored to the offender’s needs.

The agreement is crafted to ensure clear understanding and agreement from all parties involved. It specifies the duration of the program, which typically does not exceed 18 months, and the consequences of failing to comply with the program’s conditions.


The final step in securing a pretrial diversion agreement is the signing of the agreement. This is done by the offender, their attorney, the prosecutor, and the supervising officer, usually the Chief Pretrial Services Officer or the Chief Probation Officer. Before signing, the offender must acknowledge their responsibility for their actions and their commitment to comply with the program’s terms. It’s important to note that signing the agreement is voluntary, but once signed, it binds the offender to its terms.

The offender also waives certain rights, such as the right to a speedy trial, as part of agreeing to enter into the diversion program. This waiver is critical as it allows the legal process to be paused while the offender undergoes the diversion program.

By carefully navigating these steps, eligible offenders can secure a pretrial diversion agreement that allows them to address and rectify their behaviors without enduring the consequences of a criminal conviction. This process, supported by the capabilities of platforms like JED™ Platform, ensures that both the administrative aspects and the rehabilitative objectives of pretrial diversion are met efficiently and effectively. The next section will explore the impacts of successfully completing a pretrial diversion program.

Successful Completion and Its Impacts

When you successfully complete a pretrial diversion agreement, the benefits can significantly alter the course of your life. Here’s what happens:

Case Dismissal

Upon successful completion of all the requirements set forth in your pretrial diversion agreement—like community service, restitution, or counseling—the original charges against you are typically dismissed. This means that legally, the charges are dropped as if they never progressed. For instance, in Indiana, the U.S. Attorney will formally decline prosecution, and an FBI Disposition Form R-84 is filed to indicate that charges were dropped successfully.

Clean Record

With the dismissal of charges, you essentially maintain a clean criminal record. This is crucial because a criminal record can severely impact various aspects of your life, including job prospects, educational opportunities, and housing. The absence of a conviction keeps your record clear, providing you with a fresh start and the chance to engage in activities that might have been restricted otherwise.

Future Implications

The long-term benefits of a clean record are profound:
Employment: Many employers conduct background checks, and a clean record can broaden your employment opportunities.
Education: Access to higher education and scholarships can often be hindered by a criminal record.
Housing: Renting an apartment often involves a background check; without a criminal record, securing housing is typically easier.
Licensing: Certain professional licenses are difficult to obtain with a criminal record. Successful completion of a diversion program helps avoid such hurdles.

Every step towards successful completion of a pretrial diversion agreement, supported by technology like the JED™ Platform, enhances your ability to reintegrate into society with minimal disruption. This platform ensures that all parties involved—the courts, the rehabilitation services, and you—are consistently updated and engaged, promoting a successful outcome.

By embracing the opportunity provided by a pretrial diversion agreement and adhering strictly to its conditions, you not only avoid the immediate consequences of a conviction but also protect your future, ensuring opportunities remain open for you in the long term. This section leads into the next important discussion on challenges and considerations that might arise during your diversion program.

Challenges and Considerations

When participating in a pretrial diversion agreement, it’s crucial to understand not only the benefits but also the potential challenges and considerations that could impact your journey through the program. Here, we’ll discuss three key areas: failure to complete the program, legal obligations, and the importance of victim consultation.

Failure to Complete

One of the main hurdles in a pretrial diversion program is the risk of not completing it successfully. Before 2018, failure to meet the program requirements directly led to sentencing. However, post-2018 changes mean that now, failure results in the reinstatement of criminal charges, and the case proceeds as normal. This could lead to a trial where the only ways to avoid conviction are either winning the case or having it dismissed by the judge. This reinstatement emphasizes the importance of fully committing to the program’s requirements, be it counseling, community service, or restitution.

Legal Obligations

Participants in a pretrial diversion program have specific legal obligations that must be met to ensure the successful sealing and dismissal of their case. These obligations often include:

  • Supervised behavior: Regular check-ins with a program supervisor.
  • Restitution to victims: This is crucial and often a condition for the successful completion of the program.
  • Court appearances: You must appear at all scheduled court dates unless otherwise excused.
  • Compliance with treatment programs: For those required to undergo substance abuse or mental health treatment, full participation and completion are mandatory.

Fulfilling these obligations is essential not only for the dismissal of the current charges but also for avoiding further legal complications.

Victim Consultation

In cases where there is a victim, their consultation and sometimes their approval are crucial components of the diversion process. This step is particularly important in ensuring that the resolution is balanced and considers the impact on the victim. The consultation process helps in addressing any concerns the victim may have and can influence the terms of the diversion agreement, such as the restitution amount or specific conditions aimed at preventing future offenses.

In all, while a pretrial diversion agreement offers a potentially transformative opportunity for accused individuals to avoid traditional criminal penalties and rehabilitate, it comes with significant responsibilities. Participants must be diligent, not only to benefit fully from the program but also to uphold their legal and moral obligations towards victims and the community. This ensures that the diversion process remains a viable and just alternative within the criminal justice system.

By understanding these challenges and considerations, participants can better prepare for and navigate the complexities of their diversion program, leading to more favorable outcomes for all parties involved. This section leads into the next crucial discussion on the role of technology in managing and enhancing the efficiency of pretrial diversion programs.

Role of Technology in Pretrial Diversion

In the modern era, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of pretrial diversion programs. One standout example is the JED™ Platform, which has been instrumental in streamlining the processes associated with pretrial diversion.

JED™ Platform: A Comprehensive Solution

The JED™ Platform is designed to assist legal and judicial authorities in managing pretrial diversion programs. It offers a suite of tools that help in monitoring, supervising, and ensuring compliance with the conditions set forth in pretrial diversion agreements. Here’s how technology, particularly through platforms like JED™, is revolutionizing this area:

  • Automated Monitoring: The platform automates the monitoring of compliance with diversion conditions such as community service, counseling attendance, and educational programs. This reduces the manual workload on probation officers and ensures accurate tracking of progress.

  • Data Integration: JED™ Platform integrates data from various sources, providing a unified view of an offender’s progress and status. This integration facilitates better decision-making and allows for timely interventions if the participant is not meeting the program requirements.

  • Risk Assessment Tools: Utilizing advanced algorithms, the platform can assess the risk levels of participants, helping to tailor the diversion programs to individual needs. This personalized approach increases the chances of successful rehabilitation.

  • Communication Channels: The platform includes secure communication tools that allow direct interaction between offenders, their counselors, and supervisory authorities. This fosters a supportive environment that is crucial for the success of diversion programs.

  • Reporting and Analytics: With robust reporting tools, JED™ Platform can generate detailed reports on the outcomes of diversion programs. These insights are vital for evaluating the effectiveness of pretrial diversions and making informed improvements.

  • Accessibility: Ensuring that all parties involved have easy access to necessary information, JED™ Platform is accessible from various devices, enhancing the flexibility and reach of pretrial diversion programs.

By leveraging such technologies, pretrial diversion programs can not only operate more efficiently but also provide real-time solutions and support to participants, ultimately leading to better rehabilitation outcomes and reduced recidivism rates.

As we continue to explore the impact of these technological advancements, it’s clear that platforms like JED™ are at the forefront of transforming how the criminal justice system manages pretrial diversions. This technological approach not only streamlines administrative processes but also significantly contributes to the overarching goal of these programs: to rehabilitate individuals and reintegrate them successfully into society.


In wrapping up our guide, it’s evident that pretrial diversion agreements offer a significant opportunity for rehabilitation. These programs are designed not just to alleviate the burden on our courts but to provide a pathway for individuals to make amends and redirect their lives positively. By focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment, pretrial diversion can transform lives and, by extension, benefit the community at large.

At the heart of modernizing these opportunities is the integration of technology, where platforms like JED™ Platform play a pivotal role. JED™ Platform leverages technology to enhance the management and effectiveness of pretrial diversion programs. By providing tools that streamline case management and monitor compliance, JED™ ensures that participants receive the support and resources they need to successfully complete their programs.

This approach not only helps individuals avoid the long-term consequences of a criminal record but also supports their journey towards rehabilitation and reintegration into society. The use of technology in managing pretrial diversions represents a forward-thinking step towards a more just and rehabilitative criminal justice system.

Embracing platforms like JED™ will be crucial in ensuring that pretrial diversion programs not only reach their full potential but continue to evolve and adapt in ways that maximize their benefits for all stakeholders involved. With each successful completion of a pretrial diversion agreement, we are one step closer to a society that values rehabilitation over punishment and offers second chances to those who seek them.