What is diversion in Tennessee?
Pursuant to T.C.A. 40-35-313, there are two types of diversion in Tennessee, pre-trial and judicial diversion. Some counties will only offer judicial diversion. Judicial Diversion is common in Davidson, Cheatham, Dickson, Rutherford, Sumner, and Williamson counties.
What is Judicial Diversion?
Judicial Diversion – summarized, judicial diversion is a conditional plea of guilt. You are placed on supervised probation for a certain period of time and so long as you comply with the terms of probation, the case is dismissed. Although you have plead guilty, the court does not find you guilty and ultimately never will as long as you comply with probation.
What is Pre-Trial Diversion?
Pre-Trial Diversion – is an agreement with the district attorney’s office that in exchange for you complying with what is in effect supervised probation, then they will not prosecute your case. As long as you successfully complete probation, the case is dismissed.
Am I guaranteed diversion if I have never been in trouble?
Not necessarily. Some charges are not eligible for diversion and in some instances, the district attorney may not offer diversion even if the person has never been in trouble and is otherwise eligible. Not every case or person is eligible for diversion. An application must be filed with the T.B.I and it is then sent to the district attorney’s office. If eligible, the district attorney will consider offering as a plea agreement.
What are the requirements to be eligible?
Generally speaking, you must have not previously been granted diversion, have no prior felony convictions and have no prior misdemeanor convictions for which a sentence of confinement was served. In other words, if you have served jail time as a sentence, you are not eligible. Note that the time between arrest and making bond is not a sentence unless you agreed with the district attorney that the amount of time between arrest and making bond would be considered ‘time served’ and you were convicted of the offense.
If I am eligible, is this a guaranteed offer?
No, the district attorney has discretion in whether or not to offer diversion to an eligible defendant.