Celebrations are the time to let loose and have good times. When the party involves drugs and alcohol, the fun could extend outside the club.

Unfortunately, illegal substances and too much alcohol can turn a fun night into felony criminal charges. Roughly 15% of robbery charges in the U.S. occur because of alcohol use. However, in Travis County, first-time offenders may have the chance to keep themselves out of jail.

Pretrial Diversion Program

The Felony Pretrial Diversion Program is for first-time felony offenders charged with crimes such as theft, forgery and criminal mischief. The offender must complete various requirements. Afterward, the court may dismiss the charge, and the offender can apply to have the charge expunged.

Eligibility criteria

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office must approve the application for the offender to be eligible. The office will only consider those applications for charges of a Third-Degree Felony or a nonviolent State Jail Felony. The district attorney may also take into account the following:

  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • The defendant’s use of illegal substances
  • Accepting responsibility for the offense
  • Testing negative for illegal drugs

Eligible offenses

In addition to the offenses listed above, more charges may qualify for the program. These offenses may include:

  • Credit card abuse
  • Graffiti
  • Obstruction
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Bribery
  • Theft of service

If the defendant meets the eligibility requirements, he or she must complete an application for acceptance into the program.

Program acceptance

If the district attorney’s office accepts the defendant into the program, the case goes to the criminal court and put on the docket. Everyone involved in the case must then sign the Special Program Agreement. The agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the program which include supervision and an agreement to plead guilty.

Revocation from the Felony Pretrial Diversion Program may occur if the defendant fails to meet all requirements. It is in the hands of the district attorney’s office whether to revoke the case. The criminal court will continue to hear the case as if the defendant never entered the program.