What Are Diversion Programs in South Carolina?

A diversion program in South Carolina is a program that criminal defendants can enter into voluntarily as an alternative to prosecution. There are many different diversion programs in South Carolina. Whether one is available to you will depend on your particular circumstances and which county you are charged in. The successful completion of a diversion program can result in the charges that were pending against you to be dismissed and possibility of removing the criminal offense from your record. Several common examples of diversion programs in the state include:

  • Alcohol Education Programs. The Alcohol Education Program is a combined educational, counseling and community service program that can be available to individuals who have been charged with an alcohol-related offense. In order to be eligible for the Alcohol Education Program, applicants must not have any prior criminal convictions, and they must have a job, be in school, or be on disability. They cannot pose any detectable threat to the public. Upon successful completion of the program the offender’s alcohol-related offense can be dismissed and removed from their record.
  • The Traffic Education Program. Many moving violations result in points being added to your driving record. In situations where a driver has four or fewer points on their driving record, they can apply to participate in the Traffic Education Program. Completion of the traffic education program will result in the traffic violation not being recorded on the offender’s driving record.
  • Pre-Trial Intervention. Pre-Trial Intervention is a program in which offenders can perform community service and engage in restitution to the victim of their crimes in place of a criminal conviction in jail time. Some of the terms involved in a Pre-Trial Intervention Program include that the participant must submit to drug or alcohol counseling sessions and must also submit to random drug screenings during the duration of their participation in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Participants are also responsible for any fees and costs associated with participating in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Pre-Trial Intervention Programming may only be used one time to sidestep the more severe consequences of an eligible charge or offense.
  • Drug Court. Some low-level drug offenders may be eligible to apply for a court supervised outpatient drug treatment program commonly referred to as drug court. Those who participate in a drug court program may receive a minimum of 12 months of drug treatment programming. Certain criminal charges can make you ineligible for drug court, such as circumstances involving drug dealing and charges for criminal domestic violence and other violent offenses.

Applying For Diversion Programs

Anyone who is facing criminal charges for a relatively minor offense or who is the first time offender should seriously consider the benefits of applying to a diversion program instead of facing prosecution. While you are not legally required to have a criminal defense attorney representing you as you apply for diversion programs, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help when it comes to applying to these programs. Furthermore, if you are not accepted into a diversion program, you will have already established a working relationship with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can further help you with your case.

Get Help Today

When you are facing minor criminal charges, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you decide if applying to a diversion program would be to your benefit. Please do not hesitate to contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at McCoy & Stokes, LLC today.