If you are a first-time offender in Connecticut, you may be eligible for pretrial diversionary programs, which consists of several programs designed to rehabilitate the offender, rather than punish them. The objective, of course, is also to reduce recidivism and, effectively, state costs. The public interest in minimizing repeat offenders is significant, which is why Connecticut continues to offer many offenders the benefit of these programs.
Each diversionary program, while serving similar objectives, has different eligibility criteria, program objectives, time limitations, and requirements for successful completion. Here is what you need to know about Connecticut’s most common diversionary programs:
To be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation (“AR”) in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with a crime or, in some instances, a motor vehicle violation, not of serious nature. The law expressly prohibits the use of AR for certain crimes including any class A or class B felony, operating under the influence, 2nd degree manslaughter, 2nd degree assault with a motor vehicle, 2nd degree sexual assault, 3rd degree sexual assault, 3rd degree sexual assault with a firearm, enticing a minor, 2nd or 3rd degree possession of child pornography, a crime or motor vehicle violation resulting in the death of another, family violence crimes, and others. Prior convictions may also result in ineligibility for this program.
If you are deemed eligible for this program, you will be supervised by the Court Support Services Division (“CSSD”). While under CSSD supervision, the prosecution may be stayed for up to two (2) years enabling you time to successfully complete the program.
Pretrial Alcohol Education Program
To be eligible for the Alcohol Education Program (“AEP”) in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with operating under the influence, violating safe boating rules, or 2nd degree reckless vessel operation while under the influence, with some exceptions. Like AR, prior convictions may also result in ineligibility for this program.
If you are deemed eligible, you will be allocated one (1) year to complete this program consisting of between ten (10) to fifteen (15) sessions of an alcohol intervention or substance abuse program.
Pretrial Drug Education and Community Service
To be eligible for the Drug Education and Community Service program, the defendant must be charged with a drug paraphernalia or possession crime or possession of less than .5 ounce of marijuana punishable by fine.
Under this program, the defendant must submit to a Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (“DMHAS”) for evaluation. The defendant is allocated one (1) year to complete this program consisting of a fifteen (15) session drug education or substance abuse treatment program.
Pretrial Family Violence Education Program
To be eligible for the Family Violence Education Program (“FVEP”) in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with a family violence crime, with some exceptions. A family violence crime, in Connecticut, is defined as a crime that includes an element of family violence to a family or household member.
The law expressly prohibits the use of FVEP for class A, B, C, or unclassified felonies with possible prison sentences greater than ten (10) years, and class D or unclassified felonies with possible prison sentences greater than five (5) years. Any offenders that were involved in a family violence crime that involved inflicting serious physical injury are also ineligible without good cause. Prior family violence convictions may also result in ineligibility for this program.
If you are deemed eligible for this program, the Court Support Services Division (“CSSD”) will supervise you to ensure successful completion. While under CSSD supervision, the prosecution may be stayed for up to two (2) years.
Pretrial Supervised Diversionary Program
To be eligible for the Pretrial Supervised Diversionary Program in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with a crime or motor vehicle violation that is not of serious nature and must have a mental or emotional condition that has substantial adverse effects on the defendant’s ability to function. This condition must require care and treatment. Alternatively, the defendant may be eligible if they are a veteran with a mental health condition that is amenable to treatment if not dishonorably discharged from the military.
If deemed eligible for this program, CSSD will develop a tailored treatment plan, even collaborating with state and federal agencies including DMHAS and the state and federal veteran’s departments. Unlike the other diversionary programs, specially trained probation officers will supervise the defendant ensuring successful completion.
With all of these programs, eligibility and admission into the program will not always result in your charges being dismissed. It is imperative that you are wholly compliant with the court’s directives to ensure successful completion.
If you have any further questions about criminal diversionary programs in Connecticut or would like the representation of an experienced attorney to assist you, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.