Ohio Diversion Program: What You Need to Know

ohio diversion program

Have you been arrested for a crime in Ohio? 

Are you facing jail time, fines, and other penalties? If so, you may have a valuable option if your attorney mentions it. 

In some cases, the state of Ohio allows defendants to complete a diversion program – a form of sentencing that addresses the behavior that led to the offense. Diversion programs can be a great tool for avoiding jail time, rehabilitating individuals, and helping them get back on track after they lose course.

At The Botnick Law Firm, we believe that a criminal charge shouldn’t be the end of your story. We understand that when facing criminal charges, there are few things worse than getting convicted and going to jail. An experienced criminal defense attorney at our law firm may be able to help you avoid both. Call today.

What is a Diversion Program?

Pre-trial diversion programs are alternatives to criminal prosecution that the courts must approve. They are not meant to replace the criminal justice system but rather to assist people who have been charged with a criminal offense that does not pose a threat to society.

Examples of Ohio diversion programs can include drug and mental health treatment. 

Drug Treatment Programs

These programs focus on helping those charged with nonviolent drug-related crimes get treatment and avoid jail time. Participants can complete substance abuse treatment and follow court-ordered conditions such as attending classes or community service. 

If they complete these requirements successfully, their charges are dismissed, and they receive no conviction on their record.

Mental Health Treatment Programs

These programs provide offenders with mental health services instead of custody when appropriate. Offenders might still face fines or probation if they fail to meet court requirements; however, this can help reduce recidivism rates among individuals struggling with mental illness compared to traditional punishment methods (i.e., incarceration).

If a prosecuting attorney believes a diversion program is an appropriate fit, they will set the parameters of that diversion program. A criminal defense attorney can help you determine whether an Ohio diversion program is an option in your case.

Ohio Diversion Program Overview

If you face a criminal charge that could result in jail time, you may be eligible to participate in an Ohio diversion program.

The purpose of the diversion program is to help people accused of nonviolent crimes make positive changes in their lives by providing them with counseling and other support services.

Eligibility requirements for participation vary depending on which court you are charged in and how serious your crime is considered to be. 

Still, most defendants must meet the following requirements: 

  • Must not be a repeat or dangerous offender
  • Must not have been operating a commercial vehicle when the offense occurred
  • Must not have committed a violent crime causing serious physical harm

Again, these rules may vary based on which county or court district handles your case. You must understand what specifically applies to your situation before deciding whether or not to apply for this type of resolution.

Benefits of an Ohio Pre-trial Diversion Program

A pre-trial diversion program is a great option for people who have not yet been convicted of a crime and can be especially helpful for people looking to avoid jail time or a criminal record. 

Here’s how an Ohio diversion program benefits you.

Avoid Jail Time and Fines

Diverted defendants typically won’t face any jail time or fines (depending on the severity of their charges) if they complete the program successfully.

Keep a Clean Record

If you successfully complete the diversion program, your case will be dismissed and removed from your criminal record. This provides for a brighter future, shielding past mistakes from potential employers, landlords, and lenders.

Address Underlying Conditions

Diversion programs refocus the justice system on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Some diversion programs allow screening and counseling to address underlying mental health or substance abuse issues that may have led to the offense.

How to Get Started with the Pre-trial Diversion Program in Ohio

A criminal defense attorney can help you jumpstart the process of being screened for an Ohio diversion program. The next steps in the process are situational, depending heavily on the prosecution. But ultimately, a decision will be made on whether you are eligible for diversion and, if so, what those conditions are. 

A diversion program may not be the best solution for every criminal case. Talking with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney can help you decide how to proceed with your case. Contact our lawyers at The Botnick Law Firm today.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google