Diversion is an alternative justice process offered by a prosecutor to a defendant instead of the traditional criminal court process.
Diversion is optional. A defendant is never required to complete to diversion in Vermont. A defendant may choose to fight his or her case in the traditional criminal justice system instead of completing diversion.
What are the benefits of Diversion?
Diversion allows defendants to resolve their cases outside of court. The diversion process is often cheaper and faster than the traditional criminal court process. If a defendant successfully completes diversion they won’t risk having a criminal conviction on his or her record. Two years after the successful completion of diversion, if the defendant has not received new charges, the charge that the defendant received diversion for will be expunged.
What is the downside to Diversion in Vermont?
Defendants who choose to resolve their cases in diversion must take responsibility for their criminal actions. They are not required to plead guilty before a traditional court, nor is a guilty plea recorded anywhere, but they must take responsibility for the criminal act that resulted in the diversion referral. If a defendant denies responsibility for the criminal act his or her case will be referred back to criminal court for an arraignment. The traditional criminal court process will move forward from there.