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How Judicial Diversion Could Keep Your Record Clean

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Knox County criminal defense attorneyEveryone makes mistakes. Sadly, a single split-second mistake can have consequences that impact the rest of your life if you end up with a criminal record. Even one conviction can limit your future prospects, including educational and career opportunities. Fortunately, in Tennessee there is a way for certain offenders to avoid having a conviction on their record through judicial diversion. Eligible defendants may be able to have their charges dismissed after completing a period of probation or meeting other conditions. If you are facing any criminal charge, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney immediately. 

How Does Judicial Diversion Work?

To receive a judicial diversion, you must first plead guilty to your charges. Rather than sentencing you, the court “diverts” the charge for a specified amount of time. During that time, you will be required to follow certain conditions set by the court. Conditions may include things like submitting to drug testing, completing a class, and avoiding new charges. The conditions set will vary somewhat depending on your charges and the circumstances of your case. 

After you successfully complete the diversion period, you can return to court and ask the judge to enter an Order of Expungement, erasing the charges from your criminal record. 

Who is Eligible for Judicial Diversion?

It is not true that only first-time offenders qualify for judicial diversion. Those with minimal records may also qualify. A prior misdemeanor other than a Class A misdemeanor that you did not serve time in jail for is not a bar to judicial diversion. While there are extremely limited exceptions, most prior felony convictions will keep you out of judicial diversion programs. Judicial diversion is a one-time offer. You are only eligible for this opportunity once, so if you have been through a judicial diversion in the past you cannot be given another one. 

Some offenses that are considered more serious, such as sexual offenses, Class A, Class B, or Class C felonies, or DUI cannot be diverted. The goal of judicial diversion programs is to help minor, non-habitual offenders avoid a life-altering criminal record for a small mistake. It is not to protect serious or repeat offenders from the legal consequences of their actions. 

Speak to a Knox County Criminal Defense Attorney 

The Law Office of William F. Evans may be able to make a case for you to receive judicial diversion if you qualify. To determine whether you are eligible, you will need to consult with an experienced Knoxville criminal defense lawyer. We will fight for you to be given this opportunity. Call us at 423-449-7980 to schedule a free consultation. 



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