The rules governing Pretrial Intervention and Diversion Programs are derived from O.C.G.A. § 15-18-80. While program requirements vary depending upon Court, there are a number of similarities and requirements that you can expect to find. We have assembled a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) to assist you in your successful completion of Pretrial Intervention and Diversion Programs across the State of Georgia.
Q. How long will I be required to remain in the program?
A. The length of your program is established by Prosecuting Attorney based upon the program’s written guidelines. One can expect programs to range from 90 days to 12 months in length.
Q. Is there a possibility of being released from the program earlier than the end of the term of the order if I complete all of the conditions required?
A. Early terminations are approved and established by the Prosecuting Attorney as a part of their written guidelines. The possibility of early termination will be made clear as a part of the program order.
Q. How often will the pretrial supervisor require me to report?
A. The frequency of reporting may be established by the Prosecuting Attorney. However, most participants report in-person once per month.
Q. What if something happens and I miss an appointment with my supervisor?
A. Reporting as directed is critical to the successful completion of your program. However, it is best to notify your supervisor in advance, if at all possible barring emergency circumstances, of any missed appointment. If you are unable to reach the supervisor prior to missing the appointment, you should contact them immediately afterwards and make arrangements to reschedule. There are circumstances where a missed appointment may result in a request to have you removed from the program, so it is critical that you make reporting your highest priority.
Q. Will I be required to pay a fine?
A. What are typically referred to as fines are referred to as program fees in Intervention and Diversion Programs, as the fees are the source of administrating the program. Program fees are determined by the Prosecuting Attorney and may not exceed $1,000.
Q. If I don’t have all of the money at the time I’m placed in the program, what do I do?
A. You will be allowed to make monthly payments during the term of the program. Exactly how much time you will be allowed in which to pay is subject to written guidelines of the program. It is important to note that you must report as instructed regardless of whether you are able to present your full monthly payment at each visit or not. Technical non-compliance matters may be resolved through administrative hearings as long as the program participants reports as directed and maintain communication with their supervisor.
Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. We request that all payments be made in the form of a money order. There is little, if any, cash on hand at the probation office for security reasons. You may keep your money order stub for future reference, in addition to the printed receipt you will receive at the payment window. There is a credit card payment option available and instructions are provided on our website under Online Payments.
Q. Will I have to submit to alcohol and drug testing while in the program?
A. All program conditions are established by the Prosecuting Attorney. If you are required to submit to alcohol and/or drug testing, you will be responsible for the cost of the tests. The frequency of screening is established as a part of the program’s written rules.
Q. What happens if I fail an alcohol or drug test?
A. Failure to avoid alcohol or other substances, both legal and illegal as ordered, may result in your removal from the program at the discretion of the Prosecuting Attorney.
Q. What about other conditions? How long do I have to complete them and do I have to pay for them?
A. All conditions are ordered by the Prosecuting Attorney. The amount of time you are afforded to complete conditions will be explained clearly to you by your supervisor in keeping with the written rules of the program. The program participant is required to pay for any costs associated with program conditions. Your supervisor will assist you with providing you information on how to access all approved program providers.
Q. If I successfully complete the program, will I have a conviction on my permanent criminal history?
A. The objective of Intervention and Diversion Programs is to aid persons with no or minimal prior criminal convictions avoid a lifetime conviction. Assuming that you complete all conditions, the case against you will be dismissed and there will be no conviction entered.
Q. What happens if I fail to complete all of the conditions in time or if I am arrested for another offense while I’m in the program?
A. Technical violations and/or any new arrests or convictions may result in your removal from the program by the Prosecuting Attorney. You could be subject to all of the same penalties that existed prior to your entry into the program.
Q. What if I was arrested? Will anyone be able to find out about that when I apply for jobs in the future?
A. The Prosecuting Attorney will state on the order whether or not you are eligible to have your arrest expunged (O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37(d) – arrest prior to July 1, 2013) or restricted (O.C.G.A. § 35-3-27(h) – arrest on or after July 1, 2013). If you are allowed either form of arrest restriction, your supervisor will provide you with specific information on how to begin the process upon completion of your program.
Q. What happens to my bond if I posted one?
A. If you posted a bond, it will be returned to you or the surety after you complete the program. If you hired a bonding company to post your bond, you will most likely not receive a refund.