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Pretrial diversion is a type informal disposition which involves the referral of individuals, often before arraignment, to rehabilitative or restitution programs in lieu of criminal prosecution. For example, mental health treatment, drug or alcohol abuse treatment, for the payment of restitution and fines or community service. The individual's criminal charges are dropped upon completion of the treatment program or upon meeting the agreed-upon conditions. Such programs are designed to promote rehabilitation and minimize the stigma that attaches upon conviction.
Offenders referred to treatment as a condition of pretrial diversion usually remain in treatment longer than individuals who voluntarily commit themselves for treatment. Generally, relatively minor offenses for which a person could be sentenced to a jail term are eligible for pre trial diversion. Some statutes specifically enumerate the offenses eligible for such treatment. Person charged with driving while under the influence, minor drug charges, bad check writing (false pretenses), petty theft, and domestic violence offenses are a few examples of offenses eligible for pre trial diversion.