The Criminal Diversion Program is available across all Magistrates Courts in Victoria.
It is not available when police charge you with an offence that can be punished by a minimum or fixed sentence or penalty. This includes when authorities cancel or suspend your motor vehicle licence.
The main benefit of the Criminal Diversion Program is that you will avoid a finding of guilty on your criminal record for the offence.
In many cases, magistrates may order some form of rehabilitation or counselling. They may ask eligible candidates to write a letter of thanks to police for recommending Diversion, or a letter of apology to the victim. A magistrate will often impose a contribution to the Court Fund. This will then be given to charities through the Court.
Who can get Diversion?
You can get Diversion for:
- offences that can be heard in the Magistrates Court
- offences that don’t have a fixed penalty or minimum fixed sentence
- when you admit responsibility for the offence; and
- The prosecution (and usually informant) have agreed to Diversion.
If you meet these criteria, then a Magistrate MAY approve any Diversion.
Magistrates may not consider a diversion suitable in the case of a domestic assault or family violence. Similarly, they are unlikely to grant diversion where an accused person already has a criminal history.
However, some exceptions can apply.
If the Magistrate refuses an application for Diversion, the matter will go back to the court.
An informant may or may not recommend a diversion. We have been successful on many occasions obtaining agreement for diversion when it was initially considered inappropriate.
Call Slades & Parsons Solicitors for legal advice to prepare your application, represent you and maximise the chance of success.