If you are charged with a crime, you probably expect the consequences to include jail, probation, expensive fines, a major disruption to your life, or a combination of all those things.
Here in Tarrant County, though, depending on the crime you have been accused of, you might be eligible to participate in a special diversion program that helps you avoid the typical criminal justice process.
Tarrant County’s diversion programs aim to rehabilitate the offender in order to correct the behavior and attitude that contributed to the original arrest. Upon successful completion of a diversion program, your criminal case can be dismissed, your criminal record can be expunged, and you can go back to living your life.
Let’s look at a few of the diversion programs that are available in our county.
Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP)
FAIP is for repeat, felony DWI offenders (two or more prior DWI convictions) who have an alcohol abuse problem. The intensively supervised program focuses on alcohol intervention, a specialized treatment plan, holding the individual accountable for their actions, and monitoring the offender’s progress on a weekly basis.
To be eligible for this program, you have to complete an application within 60 days of your case filing, be at least 17, and have no prior 3g convictions or pending cases.
Domestic Violence Diversion Program
The Domestic Violence Diversion Program addresses offenders who have committed part-on-partner domestic violence. To participate in the program, you cannot have any current or prior violations of protective order, stalking activity, open warrants, pending charges, or prior history of diversion. Additionally, you will need to commit to completing the program as well as receiving the consent of the victim in order to participate.
First Offender Drug Program (FODP)
If you are a first-time drug offender who has committed a specific drug crime, including possession of marijuana, controlled substance, or dangerous drug, you might be eligible for the FODP. This program is minimally supervised and gives the offender an opportunity to correct his or her own behavior. You will be required to attend a drug education or life skills class as well as submit to two urinalysis tests per month.
Youthful Offender Diversion Alternative (YODA) Program
The YODA program is for first-time, youthful offenders between the ages of 17 and 25 who are charged with assault against a “non-intimate family member.” A non-intimate family member is defined as a blood relative related by marriage or intimate relationship with another family member. The goal of the YODA program is to give the youthful offenders the opportunity to learn skills and solutions that will “help them move their lives away from future criminality and violence.”
Other Behavioral Intervention With Assault Non-Family (OBI WAN) Program
OBI WAN extends the YODA program to first-time, youthful offenders who are charged with assault against a non-family member. The goals of OBI WAN are similar to YODA and participants must be willing to make changes in their lives, adhere to the programs rules and policies, and attend counseling sessions.
Other diversion programs offered by Tarrant County are:
- Mental Health Diversion Court Program for mentally impaired offenders;
- Veterans Court Diversion Program for Justice Involved Veterans facing prosecution for a criminal case; and the
- Reaching Independence through Self-Empowerment (RISE) Program for women who have histories of prostitution-related offenses.
If you have been charged with a crime and think one of these diversion programs might be for you, reach out to an experienced Ft. Worth criminal defense attorney who will discuss your case and determine the best way to proceed.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.