Pre-Trial Diversion Policy & Eligibility Guidelines
District Attorney Diversion Defined:
District Attorney pretrial diversion is defined as a formal program used at the discretion of the District Attorney, as an alternative to formal processing of a criminal charge or adjudication.
- Provide a non-adjudicatory alternative disposition for offenders who are least likely to re-offend.
- Provide a mechanism for appropriate offenders to receive restorative justice without the stigma of a criminal conviction while making victims of crime whole.
- Reduce the caseloads of courts, public defenders, probation services and prosecutors in a manner that does not jeopardize public safety.
- Provide tailored, effective resources and rehabilitative programming to appropriate offenders in an effort to decrease the likelihood of reoffending.
- Enhance public safety through appropriate and measured utilization of traffic safety initiatives.
- Non-violent first offenders may be eligible.
- Non-violent offenders who have a minimal non-violent criminal history may be eligible.
- Non-violent offenders with a single violent episode in their criminal history may be eligible if sufficient time has lapsed since the prior offense and offender has demonstrated the willingness and ability to successfully complete all programming.
- The District Attorney may exclude any offense or any class of offenses from consideration for diversion.
Traffic offenses not eligible shall include:
- Any accident with injury.
- Any moving violation which includes flight from law enforcement.
- Speeding in excess of 25 miles per hour above posted speed limit.
- Any offender with 2 or more prior moving violations within a one year period.
Only cases with prosecutorial merit shall be eligible for diversion.
Nothing herein shall in any manner diminish the Constitutional Authority of the District Attorney relating to charging conduct.
Applicants from diversion may arise out of a request by a defendant, prosecutor recommendation, defense attorney recommendation, and court recommendation.
All files and applicants in any criminal, juvenile, and wildlife matters shall be screened for diversion by the District Attorney or an Assistant District Attorney.
Traffic matters may be pre-screened utilizing available technology and thereafter shall be approved by the District Attorney or an Assistant District Attorney for consideration.
Screening shall include:
- Facts & circumstances relating to all files being considered.
- Criminal history of offender.
- The nature of the crimes(s) for which diversion is sought.
- Victim’s preferences.
- The impact on any victims.
- The impact on the community.
- Any other relevant facts & circumstances.
If after screening, an offender is deemed suitable for pre-trial diversion, the file(s) shall be referred to the diversion section of the District Attorney’s Office.
Thereafter, the screening division shall conduct an assessment of all pertinent factors in order to determine the appropriate level of programming required.
Programming may include:
- Substance abuse evaluation and treatment.
- Anger management evaluation and treatment.
- Mental health evaluation and treatment.
- Financial management counseling.
- Parenting counseling.
- Relationship counseling.
- Community service.
- Accountability counseling.
- Educational requirements.
- Admission to conduct.
- Restitution to victims.
- Restitution to other stakeholders with expenditures related to case.
- Driver improvement programming.
- Probationary conditions.
- Prohibitive durations.
- Any other programming reasonably related to the offense, the offender and preventing re-occurrence of the prohibited conduct.
Fees, Costs & Expenditures:
The District Attorney is authorized to charge a reasonable fee for participation in the program. No individual shall be denied the opportunity to enroll due to financial hardship.
- Fee-only diversion is prohibited. Rather, the fee charged shall be reasonably calculated to cover the costs to operate the pre-trial diversion program, the level of programming provided to the participant, support victim’s assistance programs, and the necessity to reimburse other criminal justice stakeholders within the judicial district for services provided.
- The District Attorney may consider shortfalls from prior year(s), as well as any anticipated surplus in setting fee schedules.
The Local Agency Compensated Enforcement program, or “L.A.C.E.”, became a part of Louisiana law enforcement in the 1980s after the Louisiana State Police severely suffered from a lack of state funding.
Traffic Diversion Program
The Desoto District Attorney’s Office has teamed with the Louisiana State Police and Mansfield Police Department to provide additional enforcement in areas of the parish that show high crash or high violation volume.