Giants QB Asks For Pretrial Diversion
Kyle Lauletta wants to enter a program which, if completed, will leave him with no criminal record. The same option may be available to ordinary criminal law defendants in New York as well. You do not have to be a professional athlete.
In October, the young man made an illegal turn and ignored officers’ orders as he drove to the team practice facility in New Jersey. His misconduct earned him several citations. Authorities noted that he had behaved the same way at the same location a few days before he received the citations. Mr. Lauletta may have overstated things a bit when he said he made “a horrible decision that I’ll regret for the rest of my life.” But nonetheless, he was quite sincere.
One of the citations was for eluding a police officer. The criminal offense is ineligible for pretrial diversion in Hudson County, and it was unclear how Mr. Lauletta’s lawyers would approach the matter.
Pretrial Diversion in New York
Program requirements vary according to jurisdiction and according to who is the elected District Attorney at the time. But these initiatives are generally available to non-violent, first-time offenders. These programs may also be available in a few other victim-specific cases, such as assault, provided that the victim agrees.
Pretrial diversion is often available in cases like theft, small drug possession amounts, and relatively non-threatening personal conduct offenses, like public intoxication. Most diversion programs include an administrative fee, which could be $100 or more, along with corrective action, such as a self-improvement class, victim impact panel, and/or community service.
Most defendants have about three or four months to complete all program requirements. If they do so successfully, the prosecutor dismisses the charges.
Pretrial diversion may also be available in some assault cases, especially some domestic violence assault cases. Many times, the defendant would benefit more from an anger management or other class than from a few nights in jail and a criminal record. If the victim agrees, and especially if the victim is unwilling to testify, prosecutors may agree to pretrial diversion.
Another form of pretrial diversion may be available in some drug offenses. Drug addiction is not a defense to drug possession, just like alcoholism is not a defense to DUI. Status is almost never a defense to conduct. However, most drug cases go to special drug courts. In these venues, prosecutors and judges understand that drug addiction leads to criminal activity. So, getting help for the defendants may be preferable to putting them in jail.
Deferred Adjudication in New York
As the Lauletta case illustrates, pretrial diversion programs have very specific requirements. If the defendant does not fit them all to a T, the deal is probably off. Fortunately, there may be some other options available which result in no criminal conviction.
Deferred adjudication is one such option. Procedurally, deferred probation is exactly like regular probation. The defendant pleads guilty or no contest and receives probation. If the defendant successfully completes probation, prosecutors dismiss the case.
This proceeding is a big advantage in places like New York that have limited expungement laws. A criminal conviction may limit job searches, cut off student aid money, derail some career plans, and cause other problems. Deferred adjudication generally has no set qualifications. Prosecutors can recommend it in almost any case. Even if prosecutors don’t recommend deferred, a New York judge may still grant it.
But not everything is wine and roses. If the defendant violates probation in any way, such as missing one meeting, the state can file a motion to revoke and the judge can sentence the defendant to anything up to the maximum. Furthermore, if you have immigration issues, deferred adjudication usually counts as a conviction.