Are diversion programs available in Ohio for criminal cases?
- Yes. Diversion programs are a way to resolve a criminal case by completing things like community service, drug / alcohol / anger management counseling, or other court sponsored programs / classes.
- Most times, the completion of these programs will end in a dismissal of the charge(s) against you.
- In some courts, completing a diversion program will not result in a dismissal, but will result in reduced charge(s).
- These programs are often offered to people who have minimal to no criminal record.
- The main purpose of diversion programs is to give people a 2nd chance if they have committed a crime. It allows a person to receive treatment for an issue that is affecting them. The hope is that the person will not end up in the criminal system ever again.
- Diversion programs also help clear out the court’s docket without having a trial.
What is the process of entering into a diversion program in Ohio?
- In order to enter into a diversion program in Ohio, you must plead guilty to the charge(s). The court then holds the guilty plea in abeyance (open) while they wait to see if you are successful in completing the diversion program. As long as you complete the program, the court will withdraw your guilty plea and dismiss your case.
- However, if you fail to complete the diversion program, the court can (and likely will) proceed straight to sentencing on your your case (because you've already plead guilty). At this point, you cannot withdraw your guilty plea and try to have a trial. You are locked into the guilty plea.
- Thus, the carrot and the stick situation for the court. They want you to have motivation to complete the program, but if you fail, they can / will punish you.
What types of cases often allow diversion programs in Ohio?
- Typically drug cases, gun cases, domestic violence / assault, trespass, menacing, theft, and solicitation.
- Drug possession
- These programs often require the person to enter into some type of drug or alcohol treatment and attend AA / NA meetings.
- Domestic violence / assault
- These programs often require the person to attend anger management meetings / counseling.
- Many courts have approved anti-theft classes that the person must complete. Community service is often a requirement as well.
- Drug possession
What is intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) in Ohio?
- This is a type of diversion program that is often used to dismiss non-violent felony or misdemeanor charges that stem from a drug / alcohol problem, a mental health issue, or being a victim of sex / human trafficking.
- Like regular diversion programs, a person must enter a guilty plea to enter into intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC).
- The person must acknowledge that the drug / alcohol problem, mental health issue, or being involved in human / sex trafficking was a factor in why they were charged with the particular crime.
- If the person does this, the court will order an assessment to determine if the person has one of the issues listed. If the facility doing the assessment determines that there is an underlying issue, they will put together a recovery program. The facility will send this program to the court.
- The court will then set the case for a hearing and determine whether the underlying issue(s) was / were a factor leading to the criminal charge.
- The court will then determine if completion of the treatment program will likely prevent further crimes in the future.
- Lastly, the court will need to determine that intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) would not demean the seriousness of the offense. If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then the court will approve the person for intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC).
What is required to be eligible for intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) in Ohio?
- A person cannot have pleaded guilty or have a conviction to any violent felony offense.
- The offense cannot be a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree felony.
- The offense cannot be an offense of violence.
- The offense is not a felony sex offense.
- The offense cannot be a felony vehicular homicide or manslaughter offense
- The offense cannot be a felony vehicular assault offense
- The offense cannot be an OVI
- The offense cannot be corrupting another with drugs
- The offense cannot be illegal manufacture of drugs
- The offense cannot be illegal administration or distribution of anabolic steroids
- The offense cannot be a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree felony drug trafficking offense
- The offense cannot be a 1st or 2nd degree felony drug possession offense
- NOTE: You’ll notice that this subsection allows for a 3rd degree felony drug possession charge, even though an earlier subsection says all 3rd degree felonies are ineligible. Some courts interpret this subsection differently than others. For example, some courts may allow a 3rd degree drug possession charge to enter intervention in lieu and others may reject it.
- The alleged victim in the offense cannot be 65 years of age or older, permanently and totally disabled, under 13 years of age, or a peace officer on duty.
- If the offense is tampering with drugs, the violation cannot have resulted in physical harm to any person.
How long does it take to complete intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) in Ohio?
- The program must be at least one year, but no more than five years.
- The terms of intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) are as follows:
- Complete the treatment program
- No use of illegal drugs or alcohol
- Submit to random drug / alcohol screens
- Comply with the terms of probation
- Most courts will determine that the program is complete after two years or less as long as you have complied with all these conditions.
- Once the program is complete, the court will dismiss the case. If your case is dismissed, it is eligible for a record sealing immediately.
What happens if I fail to complete intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) in Ohio?
- You will be sentenced based on the guilty plea that you already entered to the original charge(s).
- When you enter into an intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) program, you have to enter a guilty plea to the charge(s). During this plea hearing, the judge will tell you what your sentence will be if you fail to complete the program.
- If you fail to complete ILC, the court will set the case for a sentencing date and you will receive the sentence that was hanging over your head.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER TODAY
Call Makridis Law Firm at (330) 394-1587 as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. We will look into whether you qualify for intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC). We will also investigate and review all evidence, explore all defenses, and negotiate a fair resolution on your behalf.