If you are accused of DWI, your case will most likely end in one of three ways. It will go to trial where you will be found guilty or not guilty. You will plead guilty to the charge or a lesser charge as part of a plea deal with the prosecution. Or, you will enter into a diversion agreement with the prosecution. There is a chance your case could be dismissed on motion or through litigation, but that is not the most likely scenario.
The first two results are understood by most, but the third is less so. Even the word diversion is not crystal clear to those unfamiliar with the program used across the nation to deal with criminal charges. Diversion is a program designed to avoid prosecution, keep a person’s record clean, and keep a case away from the judge and jury.
Diversion can take many forms, but all diversion programs come down to a simple agreement. The way diversion programs work is before a case goes to trial or through formal pleadings, the prosecution offers the defendant an agreement. Under most diversion agreements, the prosecution agrees to prolong the prosecution of the crime for a year or so, as long as the defendant agrees to comply with certain provisions.
On the defendant’s side of the agreement, they have to do certain things. First they have to agree and keep their record clean for a year, or however long the agreements says. That means no arrests, charges, or convictions. And all diversion programs will require the defendant to pay an amount of money to the prosecutor’s office. More on that later.
Someone accused of DWI can also qualify for diversion programs, under certain circumstances. While there are no hard and fast rules, most diversion offers only come when it is the first time a person is accused of DWI. Like with other criminal charges, an offer for diversion can be attractive to defendants for a number of reasons. For one, it prevents a DWI from being on the record of someone, and it also keeps down legal fees when compared to going to trial.
Controversy Over Fees
This program has been hailed throughout the year, but in Brown County it is under investigation and being criticized. The criticisms is being directed at Brown County because reports are accusing the prosecution there of accepting donations to their offices in lieu of being prosecuted for misdemeanors. The case has come to light because of the efforts of citizens investigating the program and process.
This controversy raises several important questions about fees and fines in general. In fact, it causes the parties involved, prosecutors, defenders, and judges to examine the meaning of fees and whether they amount to bribes. These questions are swirling because of the funds that Brown County has recovered over the years to a particular account under control of that office. As the investigation continues forward, it is doubly important that those accused of DWI have the best possible defender on their side defending their interests.
At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm, our team of professional defenders will help you understand your options and put your best case forward. If you are charged with DWI, contact us today.
(image courtesy of Femke Ongena)