New Mecklenburg Criminal Diversion Program for Young Adults

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) announced in June 2022 that it was implementing a new criminal diversion program for young adults. First-time offenders between the ages of 18 and 24 who commit lower-level crimes can be diverted from the traditional criminal justice system.

Our attorneys at Jetton & Meredith, PLLC can help criminal defense clients fight for their rights, including the potential of participating in diversion programs.

Diversion Program Focuses on Education & Employment

Instead of being sent to jail or prison, participants in the CMPD Adult Diversion Program receive job readiness training, a financial literacy course, a victim awareness course, and more. The program length ranges from three months to one year, depending on the nature and severity of the offense. Regular meetings with a program specialist are also required.

The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for work and education to avoid re-offending and cycling through the justice system.

Any new criminal offense committed while part of the program disqualifies the individual from continuing diversion. That person will face traditional criminal penalties.

Offense Eligible for Adult Diversion Program

Only lower-level, nonviolent offenses are eligible for diversion:

  • Larceny from Auto
  • Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle
  • Larceny by Employee
  • Felony/Misdemeanor Larceny
  • Misdemeanor Assault (non-DV)
  • Auto Theft (no pursuit or accident with injury)
  • Fraud
  • Possession of stolen property
  • Misdemeanor Breaking or Entering
  • Intoxicated and Disruptive
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Damage to Property/Vandalism
  • Failure to Disperse (post-arrest)
  • Possession of Alcohol Under 21
  • Possession of Marijuana/Other Drugs
  • ABC Misdemeanor
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

According to CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings, the Adult Diversion Program is based in part on the existing Youth Diversion Program. Nearly 4,000 youth have gone through the program since 2013. They gain valuable lessons and skills to become productive adults. About 92% of participants have not re-offended.

Statewide Adult Diversion Programs

In addition to the new CMPD program, existing statewide criminal diversion programs are available for some offenders. Successful completion of these programs requires the participant to avoid further criminal charges and convictions.

North Carolina’s diversion programs for adults include the following:

  • Alcohol Education Program: Alcohol-related misdemeanors are eligible. Offenders must sign an admission of guilt. They must complete 15 hours of classes, and pay court and program fees. They must continue working or going to school and submit to random drug testing.
  • Drug Education Program: This program is for first-time misdemeanor drug possession. Participants learn life skills and receive education to help them overcome their addiction. While in the program, participants must continue working or going to school as well as submit to random drug testing.
  • 90-96 Program: The program bears the name of the law that created it. First-time offenses like possession of a small about of drugs or possession of drug paraphernalia are eligible for the 90-96 program. Charges are typically dismissed after the defendant completes a drug abuse assessment program, performs community services, and pays court costs and fines.
  • Felony Drug Diversion Program: First-time drug felons can enter this one-year program. In addition to completing the requirements of the Drug Education Program, participants must complete 225 hours of community service and report monthly to a case manager.

Our attorneys at Jetton & Meredith, PLLC, also negotiate with prosecutors for informal trial diversion programs. Nonviolent misdemeanors and some felonies can potentially qualify. The typical informal diversion includes the defendant paying restitution and court fees, performing community service, and attending counseling.

Stay Out of Jail with Diversion Programs

Not being sentenced to time behind bars is a significant benefit of diversion programs in North Carolina. Beyond incarceration, these programs offer the opportunity to have charges expunged from your criminal record. Therefore, these programs help first-time offenders maintain and find employment, get accepted into college, and be approved for housing.

Even misdemeanor convictions have a reverberating effect that lasts for years. We have experience using formal or information criminal diversion programs to safeguard our clients’ futures. If you are facing a lower-level criminal charge, let us fight for you.

Schedule a consultation to tell us about your case. Reach us online or call (704) 931-5535. We serve Charlotte and throughout the Mecklenburg County area.