What is diversion?

Diversion is a form of sentencing where, if the juvenile completes one or more conditions, their offense can be adjusted. The conditions required for the juvenile to complete are viewed as the consequences given in response to the juvenile’s behavior. Examples of such conditions are, but not limited to: completion of community service hours, restitution to victims of the offense, and education aimed at preventing future offenses.

What does it mean for an offense to be adjusted?

To adjust means to settle the case without having the juvenile attend court.

Which juvenile cases can be diverted?

The requirements are listed as follows:

  1. Only the county attorney has the authority to divert the prosecution of a juvenile to a community based alternative program. If the juvenile is a chronic or violent offender, the juvenile will not be eligible.
  2. For cases not listed as eligible for diversion, the juvenile probation officer must submit a referral to the county attorney.
  3. An interview must be conducted by the probation officer with the juvenile and his/her parents. If the juvenile accepts responsibility of his/her actions during the interview, the juvenile may then be able to begin the diversion process.
  4. For eligibility to participate in community-based alternative programs, participation of both the victim and juvenile must be voluntary, and the juvenile must accept responsibility of his/her actions.
  5. If it is agreed upon that the juvenile may participate in a community-based alternative program, a written contract stating the matter is resolved once the juvenile complies, must be signed by the program, juvenile and juvenile’s parents, and victim.
  6. No petition will be filed by the county attorney in Juvenile Court if the juvenile successfully completes the conditions (consequences) set forth by the probation officer.