Harris County Pre-Trial Diversion (Intervention) Program
In Texas, there are two kinds of probation (community supervision): probation and deferred adjudication. With probation, the person receives a criminal conviction but his jail or prison sentence is probated. With deferred adjudication, the person does not receive a conviction so long as he successfully completes the terms of the deferred adjudication. In both instances, the person is supervised by the probation department.
Another option to avoid a conviction is Pre-Trial Diversion. This option is more difficult to obtain, however if it is successfully completed a person’s criminal case will be dismissed, and he will have an opportunity at some point to get his record expunged. In order to qualify for a Pre-Trial Diversion, the most important requirement for a person seeking entry into the program is to have a clear criminal record. Usually, even a previously dismissed criminal case will prevent someone from being accepted into the program.
Community Service Requirements for Pre-Trial Diversion
The Pre-Trial Diversion program is extremely difficult to obtain in felony cases. If accepted, the contract with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is for 1-3 years and the amount of community service is much greater than for misdemeanors.
In misdemeanor cases (other than the Divert Program for DWI cases which is very different), the contract for the Pre-Trial Diversion program is for 6 months. The amount of community service on the misdemeanor contracts is only 16 hours.
Pre-Trial Diversion and Expunction of Criminal Records
Individuals accepted into the Pre-Trial Diversion program on most class B misdemeanor cases (such as a typical shoplifting case) can seek an expunction of their criminal case record right after they finish the program and their case is dismissed. As it usually takes about 60-90 days from the arrest date to be accepted into the program, this means that a person could get their record expunged within 8-9 months of being arrested.
Certain misdemeanor offenses require a 2 year waiting period to seek an expunction after completion of the program. These misdemeanors are:
- Assault of a Family Member
- Resisting Arrest
- Deadly Conduct
- Terroristic Threat
- DWI (under the DWI PTI Program)
All other class A misdemeanor cases not mentioned above have a 1 year waiting period.
All other class B misdemeanor cases not mentioned above do not have a waiting period.
If you were charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Harris County, contact Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan at 281-546-6428 to discuss your case and whether or not it is suitable to seek entry into the Pre-Trial Diversion program.