The Court Diversion Program was created in January 2007 in order to afford low-risk, first time offenders the opportunity to avoid criminal charges and/or convictions if they agree to successfully complete a customized agreement that the District Attorney believes will be beneficial to them in hopes that they will not repeat criminal behavior in the future. There are two main types of agreements that may be offered.
Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA)
A Deferred Prosecution Agreement suspends the filing of criminal charges or the prosecution of offenses for a specified period of time in order to allow offenders sufficient time to complete conditions customized to meet their individual needs. Such conditions can include the completion of counseling, programming, education and community service. Every agreement includes the condition that no new criminal offenses may be committed during the period of the agreement. Upon successful completion of these agreements, the District Attorney may choose not to issue criminal charges, or may choose to issue a Forfeiture Complaint in lieu of a Criminal Complaint. If offenders fail to fulfill their conditions, the District Attorney will commence prosecution of the offense(s). The majority of DPAs are not public record.
Deferred Entry of Judgment Agreements (DEOJ)
Deferred Entry of Judgment Agreements defer judgments of conviction of offenses for a specified period of time to allow offenders sufficient time to complete conditions customized to meet their individual needs. Again, such conditions can include the completion of counseling, programming, education and community service. Every agreement includes the condition that no new criminal offenses may be committed during the period of the agreement. Upon successful completion of the these agreements, the District attorney may choose to either dismiss the charge(s) or amend the charge(s) to ordinance violations which require payment of a forfeiture and court costs.
The difference between DPAs and DEOJs is that a plea of guilty or no contest to the charge that is to be deferred is required. In addition, all DEOJs are public record and require the approval of the court.
As previously stated, counseling, programming, education and community service are often conditions of deferred agreements. The District Attorney frequently refers offenders to Attic Correctional Services to complete these conditions. Attic Correctional Services offers several different types of group services, such as Corrective Thinking, Anger Management, and AODA Education. They are also instrumental in arranging and monitoring individuals ordered to complete community service hours.
For more information on Attic Correctional Services, please visit their website.
The program also consists of a pre-charging option for more serious offenses committed by low-risk, first time offenders. This option includes a settlement proposal tailored to the offender’s specific situation prior to filing criminal charges in an effort to settle the matter quickly.
Diversion Program & Victims
The District Attorney remains highly supportive of victims of crime and considers victim opinions to ensure satisfaction with the proposed agreements. This program complies with victims’ rights legislation as set forth in Chapter 950 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
Goals of the Diversion Program
There are several goals to this program: (1) to prevent low-risk, first time offenders from re-offending by providing them with counseling, programming and/or education that will benefit them based upon their specific needs; (2) to satisfy victims’ interests in the case, and to afford victim involvement in the process, including approval of the diversion agreement, payment for their losses (restitution) and receipt of a letter of apology (3) to reduce court congestion; (4) to decrease District Attorney case load so that they may concentrate on the more serious offenders; and (5) to lessen law enforcement’s time and resources spent on service of process.