Diversion Programs in Arizona
Diversion is an alternative to traditional prosecution by a court. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office provides several different diversion programs to some individuals accused of certain crimes.
Those charged with specific Class 4, 5, and 6 offenses may be eligible to participate in the Felony Pretrial Intervention Program. The FPIP allows a person to participate in programs intended to help with behavioral changes and to reduce the likelihood of repeating the crime. Intervention programs cost less than traditional court proceedings. They provide more positive outcomes for both the person going through the program and the community in general. Additionally, victims will generally receive compensation more quickly if the accused person chooses a diversion program over traditional prosecution.
Who Can Participate in a Diversion Program?
There are no set criteria for someone to qualify for a diversion program. The court offers diversion on a case-by-case basis. Generally, only first offenders or those with a nominal criminal history have the option to choose diversion. If a person completes the program, the court will dismiss his or her criminal case. If not, the accused then faces traditional criminal prosecution.
Types of Diversion Programs in Maricopa County
Maricopa County has the following diversion programs:
- Animal Cruelty Diversion
- Check Enforcement Program
- Domestic Violence Excessive Response Diversion (DVER)
- Felony Diversion Program
- Justice Court Diversion
- Juvenile Diversion
- Parenting Skills Diversion
- Serious Mental Illness – Felony Diversion Program (SMI-FDP Diversion)
- Tobacco Education Program/Arizona Retailer Tobacco Training (ARTT)
Diversion Program Requirements and Costs
Applicants must agree to pay full restitution to victims before they can participate. The participant must pay 50% of the court-ordered restitution within the first month of the program.
Defendants must pay for the cost of the program on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. However, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the court will not turn away those who are willing to participate and are making a good faith effort to pay but genuinely cannot afford the program.