Alternatives to Jail

The State of Wyoming allows for various diversion programs as an alternative to jail. These programs offer a way to resolve a criminal case that can allow you to avoid having a criminal record and spending time in jail. But diversion programs are not for everyone, and not everyone qualifies. If you are interested in participating in a diversion program as an alternative to jail, a member of our criminal defense team can answer your questions and help determine whether you qualify. If you are eligible, working with our office can increase your chances of being accepted into a diversion program. Our attorneys can represent you in court and help negotiate the terms of diversion.

What Is Diversion?

Diversion is a voluntary program that can provide an alternative to jail. If you are eligible and wish to participate, and the judge and prosecutor agree, you must appear in court and plead guilty or no contest to the charged offense. Your case will be removed from the criminal justice system, and you will be placed in supervised release or probation.

The specific terms and availability of diversion programs vary from county to county and will be tailored to the needs of the offender and the nature of your crime. Many diversion programs are part of a plea negotiation, and eligibility is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. These programs allow a criminal defendant to avoid prosecution by completing a rehabilitation program that typically involves community service and education requirements intended to reduce the likelihood of a repeat offense.

Other diversion programs are tailored to the needs of a specific population, like veterans or active-duty service members, or people dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues. These diversion programs are closely monitored by court and law enforcement officials and typically require completion of a treatment plan.

Who Can Participate in Wyoming Diversion Programs?

Under Wyoming’s deferred prosecution statute, WY Stat. §7-13-301, a person is generally eligible to participate in a diversion program if they are a first-time offender.

People are not eligible to participate in a 301 diversion program if they:

  • Have a prior felony conviction, prior DUI conviction, or a prior conviction for domestic battery or domestic assault.
  • Are charged with murder, first- or second-degree sexual assault, first- or second-degree arson, or assault and battery.

How Long Does Diversion Last?

Most diversion programs include probation, which can last up to 36 months. If you are placed on probation, you must:

  • Report to the court at least twice a year.
  • Abide by all laws.
  • Not leave the state without the court’s consent.
  • Abide by any other terms of the court’s probation.
  • Pay restitution.

Once you complete the requirements of the diversion program, the court will discharge you from probation and dismiss the charges. The guilty plea is not entered, and the charges will not appear on your criminal record.

Should You Participate in Diversion?

Diversion programs are not for everyone, and some people experience significant difficulty adhering to the terms of diversion. Compliance can be time-consuming, and participation can limit your ability to travel or leave the state. If you do not comply, you face significant legal risk. Your case may be returned to the court’s docket, and you may lose the right to challenge some or all of the evidence against you.

How Can an Attorney Help?

If you were charged with a crime, diversion can be an opportunity to avoid a conviction and jail time. But diversion is not for the faint of heart. Our criminal defense team can answer your questions and help you decide whether participating in a diversion program is right for you. If you want to participate, working with our team can increase the likelihood that you will be accepted. We can also help negotiate the specific terms of your diversion.

If you are interested in participating in a diversion program, you must act quickly. Contact our office today, and a member of our criminal defense team can evaluate your case, explain your options, and help you decide whether diversion is right for you. Just Criminal Law has helped many clients navigate the diversion process and obtain a favorable resolution to their case.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.

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