OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY, 17TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

MISDEMEANOR DIVERSION PROGRAM, BROWARD SENIOR INTERVENTION AND EDUCATION PROGRAM, TRUANCY DIVERSION PROGRAM AND D.W.L.S. DIVERSION PROGRAM

(Revised 12/1/2010)

 

I.       The Misdemeanor Diversion Program (M.D.P.) is a diversion program that affords first time offenders an opportunity to immediately accept responsibility for their actions, seek rehabilitation, and divert their cases from the criminal court system.  M.D.P. is administered and supervised by Broward Sheriff’s Office Probation for this judicial circuit.  The following sets forth policy, procedures, and minimum eligibility requirements for the Office of the State Attorney’s approval for entry into M.D.P.

 

A.    Time and Method of Application – If an applicant indicates a desire to apply for the program, and is preliminarily qualified, an initial Preliminary Recommendation Memorandum will be completed by an Assistant State Attorney from the County Court Division.  The Applicant must then sign the form waiving the Applicant’s Rights to Discovery and Speedy Trial.  The form must also be signed by defense counsel and an interpreter if applicable.  This form has several copies.  The original (white) Preliminary Recommendation Memorandum is filed with the Clerk.  The second (gold) copy is sent to the M.D.P./B.S.I.E. accompanied by a copy of the probable cause affidavit or other police report, Notice to Appear or citation describing the incident.  The third (yellow) copy is retained by the Applicant to present to the appropriate M.D.P./B.S.I.E. office (depending on which courthouse the case is pending) at intake right after court with no appointment necessary.  The last (pink) copy is retained by the prosecutor.  Formal application for entry must be made in person on or before the thirtieth (30th) day after arraignment, or if no arraignment is held, the thirtieth (30th) day after a written plea of not guilty is filed.  If a written plea of not guilty is filed, accompanied by a demand for discovery, the defendant will not be eligible for M.D.P.  The applicant must make application at the courthouse the case is initially assigned to.  Once a case is transferred from one of the satellite courthouses to the central courthouse, the defendant is no longer eligible for a diversion program.  In order to expedite matters, formal applications can be obtained by Applicants either pro se or with their attorneys for completion in advance of their arraignment date by making an appointment with the assigned prosecutor.   Once the paperwork is completed the Applicant will then report to the M.D.P. office for intake.  The defendant MUST be present when signing up for M.D.P..  There is a $150.00 application fee that must be paid within the first 30 days of application to the Office of the State Attorney, in addition to any of the costs of supervision that must be paid to the program.

 

B.     Residency - All applicants must be in a lawful immigration status of this country with a verifiable address, and must have been in a lawful residency status of this country at the time of the offense.  Proof of immigration status and residency will be required, and will be verified. While participating in the program, the Applicant must remain in this country, unless the applicant is deployed due to active military duty or is a student studying abroad.  The defendant must have approval of their probation specialist to leave the tri-county area.

 

C.     Eligible and Ineligible Offenses – Despite the below general categories, the Office of the State Attorney reserves the option to preclude any entry into M.D.P. based on the circumstances of the offense.

 

1.      Eligible - The criminal offense for which the Applicant has been arrested or charged must be one of the following enumerated misdemeanors:

 

a.       Curfew violations

b.      County Ordinance violations (excluding building, zoning and fire code)

c.       Criminal Mischief

d.      Disorderly Conduct/Disorderly Intoxication

e.       False Name/Identity offenses

f.       Fish and Game (excluding endangering protected wildlife, serious case designations)

g.      Gambling

h.      Handicap Sticker Violations (excluding fraud in obtaining)

i.        Loitering and Prowling (excluding cases with sexual, lewd or obscene content)

j.        No Valid Driver’s License (if specifically requested) (excluding accident cases)(extra special conditions for minors)Petit Theft (excluding theft from a government entity or        employer)

k.      Possession of Alcohol by a Minor

l.        Possession of Cannabis and Possession of Drug   Paraphernalia

m.    Prostitution or Solicitation for Prostitution

n.      Resisting Arrest Without Violence

o.      State Park violations (excluding cases with sexual, lewd or                                                 obscene content)

p.      Trespass

q.      Unlawful Use/Possession of Driver’s License or I.D. Card (altered date of birth)

 

2.      Ineligible - The following will not be approved for M.D.P.:

 

a.       D.U.I.

b.      Domestic Violence offenses (to be handled by the Domestic Violence Unit)

c.       Other Criminal Traffic offenses

d.      Weapons offenses at airports or seaports

 

3.      The remaining offenses will be examined on a case by case basis including but not limited to:

 

a.       Animal Abuse

b.      Assault

c.       Battery

d.      Counterfeit Label, Trademark, Service Mark related charges where dealing in several items of merchandise

e.       Concealed weapon charges at government buildings

f.       Contributing to the Delinquency/Dependency of a Minor

g.      Environmental/Litter violations

h.      Failure to Obey

i.        False Statement to Law Enforcement/Perjury non-official proceedings/False 911 call

j.        Fish and Game (endangering protected wildlife, serious case designations)

k.      Indecent Exposure (with sexual, lewd or obscene content)

l.        No Valid Driver’s License (if specifically requested) (accident cases)

m.    Offenses originally charged as Felonies

n.      Petit Theft (from a government entity or employer)

o.      Unlicensed Contractor

p.      Weapons Offenses (other than those mentioned above)

q.      Worthless Check

 

D.    Past Criminal History - The Applicant must have never previously entered into M.D.P., Pre-Trial Intervention, Drug Court, or any comparable diversion program.  The Applicant must have no prior adult felony or misdemeanor (including criminal traffic) arrest and /or conviction or withhold of adjudication, in this state or any other state or jurisdiction.  If the Applicant is under twenty-five (25) years of age and has a juvenile record, then the Applicant may be disqualified from M.D.P. or denied entry.  If the Applicant is over twenty-five (25) and has a significant juvenile history, in the discretion of the Office of the State Attorney, then the Applicant may be denied entry.

 

E.     Consent of Victim - The victim(s) of the offense for which the Applicant was arrested must consent to the Applicant's participation in M.D.P.

 

F.      Restitution – The Applicant must make full restitution to any person or entity, including an insurance carrier or investigative agency, who suffered monetary loss as a direct or indirect result of the commission of this offense upon entry into M.D.P.  If the Applicant cannot afford to make restitution upon entry, the Applicant shall provide a full financial affidavit and supporting documentation thereof.  If it reasonably appears that the Applicant will be unable to fulfill the Applicant’s obligation of restitution during the course of participation in the program, the Applicant may be denied admission into M.D.P.  Restitution will be a special condition of the Applicant's satisfactory completion of M.D.P.  This restitution is non-refundable in the event that the Applicant is unable to successfully complete M.D.P.

 

G.    Waiver of Rights – When signing the Preliminary Recommendation Memorandum form the Applicant is doing so indicating that he or she is waiving his or her Right to Speedy Trial and Right to Discovery and the decision to do so is being made of his or her own free will and that the Applicant has not been threatened or coerced in order to do so or promised anything in exchange for doing so.  Upon formal application to M.D.P. the Applicant must voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently execute a document indicating that Applicant has been fully advised of his or her rights, including the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney and that one would be provided if the Applicant cannot afford one, and his or her right to a Speedy Trial.

 

H.    Sworn Statement - The Applicant must provide a sworn statement relating the facts of the incident.  The Applicant must provide facts indicative of knowledge or conduct on the part of the Applicant consistent with guilt.  If the Applicant is not accepted for any reason, this statement will not be used against him in the State's case in chief.  However, it may be used against the Applicant in a trial on the charges to impeach or as rebuttal evidence if the Applicant testifies.  If the Applicant is accepted into M.D.P. and then terminates unsatisfactorily, at the State’s discretion, in the event of a trial, the State may use the statement, in its case in chief or to impeach as described above.

 

I.       M.D.P. Program - The Applicant, upon acceptance into M.D.P. must abide by the rules and regulations of M.D.P., including attending any special counseling or community service hours.  The Applicant will sign a Completion Agreement at the M.D.P. office, and copy of such will be filed with the Court.  Any violation of the rules, regulations, completion agreement, or any arrest or charge for any criminal offense will result in an automatic termination of the Applicant’s participation in M.D.P.

 

J.       Office of the State Attorney - All inquiries regarding M.D.P. for (non-Domestic Violence Unit) misdemeanor cases should be directed to the Senior Supervising Assistant State Attorney of County Court.

 

II.    The Broward Senior Intervention and Education Program (B.S.I.E.) is a diversion program designed to handle the special needs of elderly Defendants, sixty (60) years of age or older.  The policies regarding such are similar to the standard M.D.P.  There is a $150.00 application fee that must be paid within 30 days of application to The Office of the State Attorney, in addition to any of the costs of supervision that must be paid to the program.  Application for entry and any questions regarding B.S.I.E. should be directed to Ellen Chandler at (954) 831-5785.  You can also reach Ellen Chandler at chandell2000@yahoo.com.

 

III. The Truancy Diversion Program is a diversion program designed to accommodate the special needs of Defendants charged with failing to require that their child or children attend school.  The policies regarding such are similar to the standard M.D.P. with the following modifications:  The initial application will be offered by an Assistant from the Truancy Unit at arraignment, or by mail on written pleas of not guilty, with a deadline for application to the program specified therein.  The legal residency requirement above is waived but applicants must provide a verifiable address.  The Applicant is permitted to have one prior misdemeanor offense (other than a weapons charge or one similar to the instant offense) but if having such, must not have failed to successfully complete any type of supervision required.  There is a $150.00 application fee that must be paid within 30 days of application to the Office of the State Attorney, in addition to any of the costs of supervision that must be paid to the program.  Questions regarding this program should be referred to the Truancy Intervention Program of the Office of the State Attorney.

 

IV. The Driving While License Suspended (D.W.L.S.) Diversion Program is a diversion program designed to promote public safety, to encourage drivers to drive safely with a valid driver’s license and with appropriate insurance coverage, and to satisfy their financial obligations.  Eligible defendants charged with Driving While License Suspended, upon completion of the program, will have the charge changed to the criminal charge of Driving with No Valid Driver’s License (No Valid D.L.) followed by a probationary period to monitor compliance.  There is a $100.00 application fee that must be paid within 30 days of application to the Office of the State Attorney, in addition to any of the costs of supervision that must be paid to the program. The eligibility for the program, its requirements, and procedural considerations are described in the 17th Judicial Circuit Administrative Order No. VI-07-N-1 or any subsequent revisions thereto.