A diversion hearing provides a way to deal with your legal matter outside of the court system. It gives you a chance to avoid a criminal record. If you have no prior criminal history and have been charged with a low-level criminal offence, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the Police Informant or Prosecutor at court for the Diversion Hearing.
In order to qualify for diversion, you must first be ‘recommended’ by the police officer who charged you. Sometimes this can be done via their own recommendation. In some cases, your lawyer is required to negotiate with them in order to get their recommendation. If there is a victim in your case, sometimes they will be consulted by the informant too.
If successful, the police officer with provide your lawyer and the Court with a diversion notice ahead of your court date. Your diversion notice may contain some recommended conditions, such as making a charitable donation or writing a letter of apology to the victim.
On the day of court, you will participate in a diversion interview with the court’s appointed diversion coordinator. Your lawyer should ensure that you are properly prepared for this interview and make arrangements for supporting materials to be presented. The diversion coordinator will provide the Magistrate with your paperwork, who then makes a determination as to whether they will grant you diversion.
If granted, you will then be brought into court to be formally placed on a diversion plan. The ultimate duration and conditions attached to your plan are up to the Magistrate. A core condition in all diversion plans, however, is to remain on good behaviour for the operational period of the order. If you are charged with any offences during the operational period or fail to complete any of the other conditions, you will be required to return to court and you will have lost your opportunity at diversion.
An experienced lawyer will always consider requesting a diversion of the criminal charge in the appropriate circumstances.
Diversion Case Study
We recently had a client who was charged after an incident involving a cyclist whilst driving his motor vehicle. The cyclist had banged the side of his truck as he passed, and it was alleged that our client then swerved into the cyclist’s path.
Our client was charged with Reckless Conduct placing a person in danger of Serious Injury, driving a Motor vehicle in a Manner Dangerous and Unlawful Assault.
Our specialist criminal lawyers obtained all the relevant statements and considered the evidence supporting the allegations. After taking instructions, attending the location of the incident to determine factual issues and reviewing the statements of witnesses, negotiations took place with the Informant and the Prosecutor regarding the appropriate charge.
The matter was resolved, and it was agreed that the Unlawful Assault charge would only proceed. Other charges were withdrawn. The client was accepted as being a suitable person for a Diversion Hearing and thus had the matter finalised and retained an unblemished history with no criminal conviction or finding of guilt recorded.
At Slades & Parsons, we have a proven track record of advocating for our clients in diversion hearings. Our criminal law experts will work closely with you to understand your unique circumstances. We can help get you placed on a diversion plan. We will work to resolve your criminal case, we will fight to obtain the best outcomes for our clients.