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This formal Pretrial Diversion Program is currently only available in Coweta County and Meriwether County. However, this program will be expanded to other counties in the future.
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The Coweta Judicial Circuit Pretrial Diversion Program is established by the District Attorney’s Office pursuant to O.C.G.A. §15-18-80 as an alternative to criminal prosecution for certain eligible defendants in Superior Court program not only provides eligible defendants a unique opportunity to avoid a felony conviction, it also provides a service to the community and helps make victims of crimes whole again.
Participation in the program is voluntary between the District Attorney’s Office and the defendant and is initiated by the defendant by submitting a written application to the District Attorney’s Office. The ultimate decision whether to accept a defendant into the pretrial diversion program rests solely with the
District Attorney’s Office in accordance with the guidelines described in the “Admissions Criteria” section of the Pretrial Diversion Policy and Procedure Manual and pursuant to OCGA §15-18-80.
Eligible applicants who are approved for participation in the program will pay an administrative program fee and execute a written contractual agreement that sets forth the terms and conditions of the program that must be satisfied in order to have the defendant’s charges dismissed. Participants will report to a program supervisor to document their compliance or noncompliance with the terms of the Pretrial Diversion Program contract.
A defendant’s failure to successfully complete or fully comply with any term of the Pretrial Diversion Program contract shall result in termination from the program at the sole discretion of the District Attorney’s Office. In that event, the defendant’s criminal case would return to the normal criminal prosecution process. Any monies paid by the defendant during the course of their participation in the program are non-refundable and shall not be returned to the defendant under any circumstances. Additionally, in the event of termination from the program, any community service work performed, money paid, or other actions taken by the defendant while in the program may or may not be credited towards any final disposition of the defendant’s criminal case at the discretion of the trial court judge.
However, upon successful completion of all of terms of the Pretrial Diversion Program contract, including making full restitution to any victims, the defendant’s criminal case that is the subject of the program will be resolved in accordance with the agreed upon terms of the contract. Successful participants who are also eligible to have their arrest record restricted may apply for record restriction if the record restriction does not occur automatically.
The District Attorney’s Office’s hope is that successful participants of the Pretrial Diversion Program will take something positive from this experience and begin making better life choices going forward in order to lead a productive, crime-free life. In this way, everyone benefits – the defendant, any victim, and the community – all without the need of pursuing a formal criminal prosecution and
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