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Diversionary Programs

Most jurisdictions have a series of Diversionary Programs that avoid a criminal trial and the possibility of being found guilty of the criminal charges one faces. In addition to making a plea-bargain or plea-agreement with the prosecutor, the following options may be available to the accused.

Accelerated Rehabilitation

The Accelerated Pretrial Rehabilitation Program (AR)* can be used by certain people charged with crimes or motor vehicle violations that are not serious, but for which there can be a sentence of imprisonment. This program may not be used by people charged with certain felonies, those who have been convicted of crimes in the past, or those who are eligible for or used certain other programs like AR in the past, such as the Family Violence Education Program or the Pretrial Drug Education Program.

Before being given AR, the defendant must notify the victim, if there is a victim, using a certain court form. The victim can give the court his or her opinion about the defendant’s application to the AR program.

If the court grants the defendant’s application for AR, the defendant is released to the custody of the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) to be supervised for up to 2 years.
If the defendant finishes the AR program successfully, the charges against the defendant are dismissed by the court.

The AR program requires an application fee of $35 and a program fee of $100 although the court may decide that the defendant does not have to pay those fees. If the defendant is ordered to take part in a hate crimes program as a condition of AR, the program fee is $425.

Supervised Diversionary Program

The Supervised Diversionary Program* can be used by certain people who have psychiatric disabilities who are charged with crimes or motor vehicle violations that are not serious, but for which there can be a sentence of imprisonment. This program cannot be used by people who have used the program 2 times in the past or by people who cannot use the pretrial program for accelerated rehabilitation (AR).

When a person applies for this program, the court will send notice to the victim of the crime or motor vehicle violation, if there is a victim. The victim can give the court his or her opinion about the defendant’s application to the program.

Before the court will grant the person’s application for this program, it will refer the person to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD). CSSD will make sure that the person can be in the program and, if so, will decide what services and treatment the person should get. CSSD will report its decisions to the court.

If the court grants the defendant’s application for this program, the defendant will be referred to CSSD to be put into a treatment program and supervised.

If the defendant finishes the Supervised Diversionary Program successfully, the charges against the defendant are dismissed by the court.

Alcohol Education Program

The Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program (AE)* may be used by people who are charged with driving a motor vehicle or a boat under the influence (including, but not limited to, violations of sections 14-227a, 14-227g, and 15-133 of the Connecticut General Statutes). People charged with a violation of section 14-227a of the Connecticut General Statutes who used the AE program more than ten years earlier for a violation of section 14-227a may also be allowed to use the program.

When the AE program is applied for, the court file is sealed. The Court Support Services Division (CSSD) will investigate people who apply for the AE program to decide if they can be in the program. People who apply for the AE program are also evaluated by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and that evaluation is used by DMHAS to recommend that the applicant be in one of the following programs if the Court grants the application: (1) a 10-week educational program, (2) a 15-week educational program, or (3) a treatment program. The Court may also order the defendant to take part in a victim impact panel.

If the Court grants the application and the defendant finishes the assigned program successfully, the charges will be dismissed by the court.

The AE program requires an application fee of $100, an evaluation fee of $100, and a program fee although the Court may decide that the defendant does not have to pay those fees. The program fee is $350 if the defendant is ordered into the 10-week educational program, or $500 if ordered into the 15-week educational program. If the Court orders placement in a treatment program, the defendant must pay the cost of that program to the treatment provider. The Court may decide that the defendant does not have to pay the cost of the treatment program.

Drug Education Program

The Pre-Trial Drug Education Program (DEP)* can be used by people charged with violating drug possession or drug paraphernalia laws under section 21a-267 or 21a-279 of the Connecticut General Statutes. A person who used this program before or who is in the community service labor program cannot be in this program.

When the DEP program is applied for, the court file is sealed. The Court Support Services Division (CSSD) will investigate people who apply for the DEP program to decide if they can be in the program. People who apply for the DEP program are also evaluated by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and that evaluation is used by DMHAS to recommend that the applicant be in one of the following programs if the Court grants the application: (1) a 10-week educational program, (2) a 15-week educational program, or (3) a treatment program.

If the Court grants the application and the defendant finishes the assigned program successfully, the charges will be dismissed by the court. The DEP program requires an application fee of $100, an evaluation fee of $100, and a program fee, although the Court may decide that the defendant does not have to pay those fees. The program fee is $350 if the defendant is ordered into the 10-week educational program, or $500 if ordered into the 15-week educational program. The court may decide that the defendant does not have to pay all of the fee or that the defendant only has to pay part of the fee. If the Court orders placement in a treatment program, the defendant must pay the cost of that program to the treatment provider. The Court may decide that the defendant does not have to pay the cost of the treatment program.

In addition to the educational portions of the program, the defendant is required to do either 5 or 10 days of community service.

If the defendant finishes the program successfully, the charges against the defendant are dismissed by the court.

Family Violence Education Program

The Family Violence Education Program (FVEP)* can be used by people charged with certain family violence crimes. Those crimes are defined in section 46b-38a of the Connecticut General Statutes. A person who used this program before or who used the Accelerated Rehabilitation (AR) program for a family violence crime committed on or after October 1, 1986, cannot use this program.

The victim is notified of the defendant’s request to be assigned to the FVEP program and the victim is given a chance to comment in court about the application.

If the court allows the defendant to use the program, the defendant is released to the custody of the family violence intervention unit of the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) for up to 2 years and must obey conditions set by the court.

If the defendant finishes the assigned program successfully, the charges against the defendant are dismissed by the court.

The FVEP requires an application fee of $100, and a program fee of $300. The Court may decide that the defendant does not have to pay either or both of those fees.

Community Service Labor Program

The Community Service Labor Program (CSLP)* can be used by people charged with violating drug possession or drug paraphernalia laws under section 21a-267 or 21a-279 of the Connecticut General Statutes. A person who has been convicted of violating these sections or of illegally selling, distributing, manufacturing, presenting or dispensing drugs under sections 21a-277, 21a-278 or 21a-279 of the Connecticut General Statutes cannot use the program.

The program may be granted (1) as a “suspended prosecution” pretrial program, or (2) for a person who has used the program before, as a condition of probation or conditional discharge with a suspended sentence. A person cannot be placed in the program more than two times.

A person who is granted the “suspended prosecution” program is sent to the Court Support Service Division (CSSD), which will place the person in the program. Drug education is part of the program and is required.

If the defendant finishes the program successfully, the charges against the defendant will be dismissed by the court.

The amount of time that the defendant must do community service will be at least 14 days for a first violation and 30 days for a second violation with a plea of guilty and conviction.
The CSLP participation fee is $205.

School Violence Prevention Program

The Pre-Trial School Violence Prevention Program* may be used by public or private secondary school students charged with an offense involving the use or threatened use of physical violence in or on the property of a public or private elementary or secondary school or at an activity connected with the school.

The program cannot be used by a student who used this program before or who has been convicted of any offense involving the use or threatened use of physical violence in or on the property of such a public or private school or at an activity connected with the school.
When the program is applied for, the court file is sealed and the applicant is sent to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) for review. If the applicant is accepted into the program, that person is placed in the school violence prevention program for 1 year and his or her progress is reviewed during that time by CSSD.

To be in this program, the student and his or her parents must not have any firearms, dangerous weapons, controlled substances or other property or materials that by law they cannot have or that are in violation of the law.

The program will require the student to attend at least 8 group counseling sessions in anger management and nonviolent conflict resolution.

If the student finishes the program successfully, the charges against the student will be dismissed by the court.

The cost of the school violence prevention program is paid by the parent or guardian of each student to the program provider. That payment cannot be made to the Clerk’s Office.

Suspended Prosecution for Illegal Sale, Delivery, or Transfer of Pistols or Revolvers

The Suspended Prosecution for Illegal Sale, Delivery or Transfer of Pistols or Revolvers* program may be used by certain people who are charged with violating section 29-33 of the Connecticut General Statutes.** The program may be used by a person if the court finds that the violation of section 29-33 is not of a serious nature, that the defendant has not been convicted of violating the section before and that the person has not had a prosecution suspended under this section before. If the court allows the person to use the program, the defendant is referred to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) to be supervised for up to 2 years.

If the defendant finishes the program successfully, the charges against the defendant will be dismissed by the court.

There is no fee for this program.

Youthful Offender Program

The Youthful Offender Program* (YO) may be used by people who are charged with committing certain crimes before they are 18 years old. The YO program is not a pretrial diversionary program. It is a program that helps youths instead of prosecuting them as adults. All 16- and 17- year-old defendants can use YO status unless they have been charged with certain felonies and other crimes, have already been convicted of a felony on the adult docket, or have been adjudicated as a serious juvenile offender or serious juvenile repeat offender.

When any person is determined to be a youthful offender, the court may (1) commit the defendant, (2) give the person a fine of not more than $1,000, (3) impose a sentence of conditional discharge or a sentence of unconditional discharge, (4) give the person a sentence of community service, (5) give the person a sentence of imprisonment of not more than the amount of time set for the crime committed by the defendant but not more than 4 years, (6) give the person a sentence and suspend the execution of the whole sentence or a part of the sentence, (7) order that the person get treatment for alcohol or drug dependency under section 17a-699 of the Connecticut General Statutes, or (8) if a criminal docket for drug-dependant persons has been set up under section 51-181b of the Connecticut General Statutes in the judicial district where the defendant was determined to be a youthful offender, transfer the supervision of the defendant to the court handling that docket.
The records about, and the proceedings that youthful offenders are involved in, are confidential and decisions by the court that a person is a youthful offender are not convictions.

There is no fee for the youthful offender program. If a person is placed on YO probation, the probation fee of $200 must be paid unless the court decides that the fee does not have to be paid.

Treatment of Offenders who are Dependent on Drugs or Alcohol Instead of Prosecuting Them

Courts may order defendants who are dependent on drugs or alcohol to get treatment instead of those defendants being prosecuted or incarcerated.* The program covers all drug sale and possession crimes. A person charged with driving under the influence, assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle, or a class A, B, or C felony cannot have their prosecution suspended and get treatment. Also, anyone who was ordered treated two times before under this program or under a program covered by older versions of this law cannot be in this program unless the court decides to let that person in.

The court may order the defendant examined to make a decision on whether that person is dependent on alcohol or drugs and can get treatment. A probation officer may also order an examination of the defendant as part of a pre-sentence investigation (PSI).

A person that can be in this program may ask the court for his or her prosecution to be suspended (held up) and for treatment after the court receives the examination report. The court may order the person’s prosecution suspended and order treatment if it decides that: (1) the person was dependent on alcohol or drugs at the time of the offense, (2) the person needs and will probably benefit from treatment, and (3) suspending the prosecution of the person would be in the interest of justice. Prosecution may be suspended for up to 2 years.
If the court finds that the person is responding well to treatment or has completed treatment and has complied with the other conditions of suspension, it may dismiss the charges.

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