Pre-Trial Diversion Program
PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM
The Pretrial Diversion (PTD) Program is designed to prevent crime and increase public safety by holding eligible offenders accountable while providing the resources, skills, community-relationship building, and education needed to break the cycle of crime. The PTD Program is operated by the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Participation in the PTD Program is voluntary. Defendants may apply for the program and, if accepted, will enter into a contractual agreement with the DA’s Office. Those defendants who complete the program may avoid prosecution and potential conviction. The PTD Program only accepts certain types of criminal offenses, and each referral must through an application process. The Program Guidelines, found below, set forth the policies, procedures, and minimum eligibility requirements for obtaining the District Attorney’s approval for the entry of a defendant into the program.
DIVERSION PROGRAM GUIDELINES
The following sets forth the policies, procedures, and minimum eligibility requirements for obtaining the District Attorney’s approval for the entry of a defendant into the Kaufman County Pretrial Diversion Program (“PTD Program”) supervised by the Kaufman County Pretrial Bond Supervision Department (“PBSD”). To be eligible, the defendant must complete the Application, be willing to complete all terms and conditions of the PTD Program, and refrain from any further criminal activity.
1. MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Pretrial Diversion Program is to prevent crime and increase public safety by holding eligible defendants accountable while providing the resources, skills, community relationship building, and education needed to break the cycle of crime. The PTD Program is an alternative to prosecution that offers a defendant an opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction and other punitive sanctions, including fines and incarceration, in return for their successful completion of the program.
2. WHAT IS DIVERSION?
The Pretrial Diversion Program is a voluntary program for a defendant charged with a qualifying criminal offense. Pursuant to Texas Government Code Sec. 76.011, defendants who complete the program may avoid prosecution and potential conviction for their charge. The PTD Program only accepts certain types of criminal offenses, and each referral must go through an application process prior to a defendant being accepted into the program. Once accepted into the program, an agreement contract will list the specific requirements and obligations for the defendant.
3. ELIGIBLE DEFENDANT PROFILE
Admission of a defendant into the Pretrial Diversion Program will be granted at the sole discretion of the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The PTD Program accepts referrals from prosecutors, law enforcement, defense attorneys, probation officers, and pretrial bond supervision officers from within Kaufman County. Denial of admission to the PTD Program will not be based on race, gender, sexual preference, economic status, disability, or inability to pay program fees.
The PTD Program does not accept referrals for violent crimes, domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, or sexual offenses. Exceptions may be approved by the prosecutor.
To be eligible for the PTD Program, a defendant needs to be a resident of Kaufman County or a contiguous county. Exceptions may be approved by the prosecutor.
4. PAST CRIMINAL OFFENSE HISTORY
The defendant should have no prior adult felony convictions and no prior adult convictions for violent misdemeanors. Arrest history, as well as the final disposition of charges, will be reviewed and considered. Exceptions may be approved by the prosecutor.
If a defendant is twenty-five (25) years of age or younger and possesses a juvenile record of criminal offenses indicative of disregard for criminal laws, the defendant may be disqualified for entry into the PTD Program based on this record. Exceptions may be approved by the prosecutor.
5. ELIGIBLE OFFENSE
The criminal offense for which the defendant has been arrested or charged must be a non-violent criminal offense. The PTD Program does not accept referrals for violent crimes, domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, or sexual offenses. The prosecutor may preclude entry into the PTD
Program for any reason, including the underlying circumstances of the charged offense.
Offenses potentially eligible for the PTD Program include, but are not limited to:
• Possession of Marijuana
• Possession of Controlled Substance
• Criminal Trespass
• Criminal Mischief
• Tampering with Evidence
In exceptional circumstances, other offenses may be considered for the PTD Program, after review and approval by the prosecutor.
6. OVERVIEW OF THE PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM PROCEDURE
• The defendant reviews the Pretrial Diversion Program Guidelines located on the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s website.
• The defendant gathers and submits the required documents to apply for the program.
• The assigned prosecutor reviews the Application. The defendant’s attorney is generally notified within two (2) weeks regarding the prosecutor’s decision.
• If accepted into the PTD Program, the defendant is provided with an Agreement. The Agreement is a contract between the defendant and the District Attorney’s Office, and it will list all requirements for the defendant to complete during the PTD Program term. The defendant and prosecutor both sign the Agreement.
• The defendant executes a signed and sworn Stipulation of Evidence, admitting his/her guilt to the underlying criminal offense. The Stipulation of Evidence will be kept in the defendant’s file at the District Attorney’s Office and, so long as the defendant is compliant with the terms of the Agreement, will remain unfiled and confidential.
• The defendant’s conditions of bond for the underlying offense are modified to require successful completion of the PTD Program. In the event that the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the Agreement, the PBSD Officer and prosecutor will file a motion to hold the defendant’s bond insufficient and/or to amend the conditions of bond.
• The defendant is required to pay a program fee of 350 for a felony case or $250 for a misdemeanor case, pay a monthly supervision fee of $50, and pay any restitution. The program fee and supervision fees may be reduced or waived for indigent defendants.
• The defendant is admitted into the PTD Program for no more than twelve (12) months for misdemeanor offenses and no more than eighteen (18) months for felony offenses.
• At the discretion of the PBSD Officer, and with the permission of the prosecutor, defendants who are in the PTD Program for misdemeanor offenses may move into mail-in supervision status after three (3) months if there are no violations and all special conditions have been satisfied.
• The defendant is responsible for the costs of any drug or alcohol testing, as well as any classes or programs.
• The defendant is required to comply with all standard PBSD conditions, and any additional conditions deemed necessary by the PBSD Officer.
• At the end of the PTD Program, the criminal history of the offender is reviewed to determine if there have been any additional arrests. If there are no new arrests, if all terms and conditions set forth by the PBSD Officer have been followed, and if all conditions are satisfied, the defendant’s case is rejected or dismissed.
Applications for entry into the PTD Program must be submitted through the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s website or in person to Kylie Conner, the Kaufman County Pretrial Diversion Coordinator, within thirty (30) calendar days of the date an attorney is hired or appointed to represent the defendant, or within thirty (30) calendar days of the defendant’s first court appearance, whichever is later. The Pretrial Diversion Program Application can be found HERE.
Required documents for the application process should be gathered before beginning the online application submission. The requirements include:
• Sworn Application, with Personal Statement; and
• Two (2) Letters of Recommendation.
8. SWORN APPLICATION, WITH PERSONAL STATEMENT, REQUIRED
Upon applying for entry into the Pretrial Diversion Program, the defendant must voluntarily execute a signed and sworn Application. The Application requires the defendant to list personal data, criminal history information, and at least one educational and occupational goal. The defendant must also write a personal statement explaining why the defendant wants to be considered for the program and what the defendant has learned from committing the offense. If the defendant is not accepted into the PTD Program for any reason, the provided personal statement will not be used as evidence against the defendant in the State’s case in the event of a trial on the charge. If the defendant is accepted into the PTD Program and is subsequently unsatisfactorily terminated from the program, this statement MAY be used against the defendant.
9. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION REQUIRED
Upon applying for entry into the Pretrial Diversion Program and prior to any further processing of such Application, the defendant must submit two (2) letters of recommendation. The recommender must specify why he/she believes the defendant is a good candidate for the PTD Program, what he/she is going to do to help hold the defendant accountable in the PTD Program, and how he/she believes participation in the PTD Program will affect the defendant’s life. These letters of recommendation should be considered an opportunity for the defendant to demonstrate that there are members of the community who will attest to the character of the defendant and hold the defendant accountable throughout the PTD Program.
A defendant may use a member of his/her family as a source of one letter of recommendation, but only one of the two letters may come from a member of the defendant’s immediate family. The defendant’s application will be rejected if, in the sole discretion of the prosecutor, the letters of recommendation do not speak to the offense at hand and do not show specific support of the defendant’s participation in the PTD Program.
10. ADMISSION INTO THE PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM
Admission of an applicant into the Pretrial Diversion Program will be granted at the sole discretion of the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Acceptance into the PTD Program constitutes an agreement between the defendant and the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, such that the defendant agrees to follow the terms of the PTD Program as set out in their paperwork, and the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office agrees to reject or dismiss the defendant’s case if the defendant successfully completes the PTD Program. No defendant is entitled to acceptance into the Pretrial Diversion Program. Applicants may be denied admission into the program for any reason and without explanation from the prosecutor.
11. SIGNED AGREEMENT REQUIRED
Once a defendant is accepted into the PTD Program, the defendant must voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently sign the Agreement stating that he/she has been fully advised of his/her constitutional rights, including, but not limited to, the right to remain silent regarding the facts and circumstances related to the offense for which the defendant has been arrested/charged. The Agreement also states that the defendant has waived the statute of limitations and the right to a speedy trial on the underlying offense until the defendant is terminated from the PTD Program, whether satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily. The defendant’s attorney shall be required to confirm that he/she has also advised the defendant of these same rights.
The Agreement document includes mandatory items for all defendants, as well as an acknowledgment that a PBSD Officer may assess other conditions which are designed to help the defendant overcome issues that led to the criminal offense and to expand their life skills to help them be successful, non-offending adult members of the community. Defendants are responsible for ALL costs associated with any contract items.
Mandatory Contract Items (included in all Agreements):
• Commit no further criminal violations
• Truthfully answer all questions asked by the PBSD Officer
• Report all contact with law enforcement within 24 hours
• Remain in the County of Kaufman and contiguous counties, unless otherwise granted permission by the PBSD Officer
• Pay all required fees to the District Attorney’s Office and the PBSD
• Maintain steady, full-time employment (or part-time with approval of the PBSD Officer)
• Complete community service restitution hours
• No use of controlled substances
• Alcohol and drug evaluation, assessment, testing, and treatment, as determined • Mental health evaluation and/or treatment, as determined
• Drive only with valid driver license and insurance
Potential Offense-Specific Contract Items (included on an individual basis):
• No alcohol uses
• Random alcohol and/or drug use monitoring, frequency determined by substance abuse screenings, evaluations, and assessments
• Drug or alcohol treatment, from out-patient to in-patient, depending on the defendant’s history and assessment results
• Mental health treatment, from out-patient to in-patient, depending on history and mental health evaluation
• Financial restitution to the victim or victims of the offense
• A letter of apology to the victim or victims of the offense
• Domestic violence victim treatment, including possible group and individual treatment
• No weapons possession
• Anti-theft classes
• Anger management classes
• Life skills classes
• Parenting classes
• Any other treatment, program, or class deemed necessary by the PBSD Officer
12. SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR COMPLETION
If, in the opinion of the prosecutor or PBSD Officer, the defendant is in need of special counseling, mentoring, classes, therapy, or services, the defendant must agree to participate in, successfully complete, and pay for such programs as a specific condition of his/her satisfactory completion of the PTD Program. This may include requiring the defendant to attend self-improvement courses. If the defendant is not willing to accept these conditions, the defendant will not be able to successfully complete the PTD Program.
13. FEES REQUIRED
The Pretrial Diversion Program has a $350 fee for felony offenses and $250 fee for misdemeanor offenses, payable to the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, which must be paid in full before admission into the PTD Program. This fee may be reduced or waived for defendants determined to be indigent by the Kaufman County Indigent Defense Coordinator. The defendant is also required to pay to PBSD a supervision fee of $50 per month, as well as to pay for any required drug/alcohol testing, classes, or other contract items.
14. RESTITUTION REQUIRED
If a person or persons suffered monetary loss as a direct result of the commission of the offense for which the defendant is charged, the defendant must be ready, willing, and able to make full restitution, and such restitution shall be paid in full prior to entry into the PTD Program. Where a defendant is determined to be indigent, or where the amount of restitution is substantial, the defendant may be approved for a payment plan, which will be detailed in the Agreement.
15. STIPULATION OF EVIDENCE REQUIRED
Upon acceptance into the PTD Program, and simultaneously with signing the Agreement, the defendant will sign a sworn Stipulation of Evidence, admitting his/her guilt to the underlying criminal offense. This Stipulation of Evidence shall be kept confidential within the defendant’s file at the District Attorney’s Office and, so long as the defendant is compliant with the terms of the Agreement, will not be filed in the County or District Clerk’s Office.
However, if the defendant fails to live up to the terms of the Agreement, and if the defendant is unsuccessfully discharged and terminated from the PTD Program, then the Stipulation of Evidence WILL be used against the defendant and may be admitted as evidence at any future hearing or trial against the defendant for the underlying offense.
16. SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM
Successful completion of the Pretrial Diversion Program provides participants with the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction. If, at the conclusion of the term of the Agreement, the prosecutor determines that the defendant has met all conditions of the Agreement, then the prosecutor will reject or dismiss the agreed upon charge against the defendant.
17. UNSUCCESSFUL DISCHARGE AND TERMINATION FROM THE PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM
In the event that the defendant breaches any term of the Agreement by failing to comply with a term or condition of the PTD Program, the PBSD Officer will so notify the prosecutor. The prosecutor will file a motion to hold the defendant’s bond insufficient on the basis that the defendant has failed to successfully complete the PTD Program. The prosecutor will simultaneously terminate the defendant from the PTD Program.
If the defendant wishes to contest the motion to hold bond insufficient, they may do so at an evidentiary hearing in the district or county court in which the bond conditions were filed. At said hearing, the judge will determine, by a preponderance of the evidence standard, whether the defendant violated their conditions of bond by failing to successfully complete the PTD Program. Upon a ruling from the judge that the defendant has violated conditions of bond, the defendant will be terminated from the PTD Program.
In the event that a defendant is terminated from the PTD Program, the State of Texas, through its Criminal District Attorney, shall have the right to prosecute the defendant for the offense covered by the Agreement, as the defendant has executed a waiver of their rights to a speedy trial and any statute of limitations. If the underlying charge has not yet been filed, then the prosecutor will file the misdemeanor case or seek to indict the felony case and have the case set for a jury trial. If the underlying charge has already been filed, then the prosecutor will request to have the case set for a jury trial. In either event, the prosecutor may offer the defendant’s Stipulation of Evidence as evidence against him/her at the trial.
Questions? Send an email HERE to Kylie Conner, Kaufman County Pretrial Diversion Coordinator, or call Ms. Conner at (469)-376-4165.