According to recent statistics compiled by various Florida county law enforcement agencies, diversionary programs are making a great impact within the jurisdictions choosing to invest in these alternative punishment pathways. While not every Florida county has opted into the diversionary program, the ones that have are contributing to a plummeting juvenile arrest rate which has steadily declined as much as eight percent over the past several years.
Overall, diversionary programs are proving to be a highly successful option for youths engaging in misdemeanor behavior that wish to avoid the lifelong collateral damage of a permanent arrest and/or conviction record. If you or your child is facing a recent arrest or issuance of a citation, please contact the Fowler Law Group right away.
Types of Diversionary Programs Available for Juveniles
The purpose of a diversionary program is to address the underlying issues causing a teenager to commit criminal acts. For instance, if a juvenile is cited with underage drinking, he or she may avoid conviction by submitting to a diversionary program designed to treat substance abuse or misuse. Other program components available to youth offenders, particularly those living in Sarasota’s Circuit 12, include the following:
- Community service
- Anger management
- Urinalysis monitoring to ensure the avoidance of drugs
- Educational and vocational training
- Substance abuse counseling
- Mental health counseling
If an offender is considered an eligible candidate for a diversionary program, he or she must receive approval from the State Attorney’s Office, as well as satisfactorily complete each step in the case plan without interruption.
The Benefits of Entering a Diversionary Program
As juveniles, it is often difficult to grasp the impact of completing a diversionary program in lieu of facing a criminal conviction; however, the benefits are innumerable. First, the juvenile will avoid the lifelong consequences of a misdemeanor arrest and conviction on his or her criminal record. As any Sarasota juvenile attorney can explain, maintaining a clear criminal record is vital for enrollment in college, post-graduate school and securing gainful employment in many professional jobs.
In addition, many children with a conviction record begin to lose their empowerment and may feel labeled as a “criminal” before their life even begins which can inevitably lead to more arrests and possible convictions down the road. By getting a second chance, many juveniles feel motivated to maintain their clean slate and may seek to avoid reoffending at all costs.
Lastly, diversionary programs help many children work through underlying mental health and substance abuse issues early in their lives which are often tied to familial instability or childhood trauma, thereby giving the children powerful tools to use in the future when a criminal opportunity presents itself again.
Contact the Fowler Law Group Today!
If you are facing a recent juvenile criminal charge and would like to discuss your options, particularly with regard to a diversionary program, please contact the Fowler Law Group right away by calling (941) 900-3100.