Connecticut Alternatives to Conviction & Incarceration
At the Law Office of Jerome Paun, we frequently help our clients avoid unnecessary criminal convictions and jail time by successfully advocating for their placement in one or more of the diversionary programs available in Connecticut.
Diversionary programs are designed to remove eligible individuals from the criminal justice system so that they may avoid the stigma and trouble that result from a criminal conviction.
Free Consultation to Discuss Your Options to Avoid Conviction
Call the Law Office of Jerome Paun toll free at 866-787-0119 or send us an e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney to discuss Connecticut alternatives to conviction and incarceration and whether you qualify for a diversionary program.
With more than 25 years of experience, we know how to work with prosecutors and the court to help divert you out of the criminal justice system and into an appropriate program that will help you address your particular problem and keep you out of jail.
Diversionary Programs in Connecticut
Pretrial diversionary programs you may be eligible for include, but are not limited to:
- Alcohol Education Program (AEP) — You may be able to avoid an operating under the influence of alcohol or drug (OUI / DUI) conviction and its jail sentence by gaining admission to and successfully completing the AEP.
- Drug Education and Community Service Program (DE&CSP) — You may be able to avoid criminal conviction for certain specified drug possession charges, even those with mandatory minimum jail sentences, by gaining admission to and successfully completing the DE&CSP.
- Accelerated Rehabilitation (AR) — You may be able to avoid criminal conviction, a jail sentence, and a criminal record for a variety of criminal charges if you are granted and successfully complete AR.
- Family Violence Education Program (FVEP) — You may be able to avoid criminal conviction, a jail sentence, and a criminal record if you are charged with crimes defined as "family violence crimes" and you are granted and successfully complete the FVEP.
- School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) — Students in public or private secondary schools (high schools) may be able to avoid criminal conviction, a jail sentence and a criminal record for criminal charges alleging the use or threatened use of physical violence in or on the real property of a public or private elementary or secondary school, or at defined school-sponsored activities.
- Supervised Diversionary Program for People with Psychiatric Disabilities (sometimes referred to as 'Psych AR') — If you have a mental or emotional condition that negatively affects your ability to function and requires care and treatment, you may be able to avoid criminal conviction, a jail sentence, and a criminal record for nonserious crimes or motor vehicle offenses that carry jail sentences by getting admitted to and successfully completing this program. You may be able to use this program more than once. If you successfully complete your prescribed treatment, the court will dismiss the criminal or motor vehicle charges against you and you will not have a criminal record.
- Youthful Offender (YO) — If you were 16 years old (or 14 or 15 years old with a case transferred to adult court), but under 18 at the time of the alleged offense; you have not been charged with certain specified disqualifying crimes; and you are not ineligible because you were previously convicted of a felony in Superior Court or previously adjudged a serious juvenile offender or serious juvenile repeat offender, you should be eligible for treatment as a youthful offender. Although conviction as a YO can still result in punishment, including jail time, YO status avoids a permanent public criminal conviction record and the trouble that stigma can cause for the rest of your life.
- Drug and Alcohol Dependence — If you were drug and/or alcohol dependent at the time you are alleged to have committed a crime, we may be able to convince the court to suspend your prosecution for up to two years for the purpose of treating your drug and/or alcohol dependence. If you successfully complete treatment, we may be able to persuade the prosecutor or the judge to dismiss the charges against you.
Many of these options require you to pay application, evaluation and program fees. We may, however, be able to convince the judge to waive the fees or substitute community service if you are unable to pay the fees.
Another Option: Nolle Prosequi
Nolle Prosequi (often referred to as a "nolle" for short) is a Latin phrase that means the prosecutor chooses not to prosecute. It is not a diversionary program, but it does result in the dismissal of criminal charges, no conviction, no punishment, and no criminal record. The legal effect of getting a nolle prosequi as a negotiated disposition of a criminal case in Connecticut is that after 13 months from the date on which the nolle was entered in court, the criminal charges that were subject to the nolle are dismissed and then erased. The erasure can take a few weeks.
In most criminal cases, a nolle prosequi is just about the best possible outcome a defendant could hope for. A judge cannot give you a nolle prosequi nor can a judge order a prosecutor to give you one. Only prosecutors can give you a nolle and they don't usually do that without being persuaded to do so for a good reason. If you and your case seem appropriate for a nolle prosequi, the Law Office of Jerome Paun will work hard to persuade the prosecutor to nolle your case.
Why You Need a Connecticut Defense Attorney
Just because you may be eligible for placement in a diversionary program does not mean you will be placed in a program. Prosecutors, victims' advocates, and alleged victims can oppose your program application.
You need a lawyer who can properly prepare your application while convincing prosecutors and other parties to agree, or at least not object, to the request. If the prosecutor or others insist on opposing your application, you will need a strong advocate who will fight hard in court to convince the judge to grant your program application over any objection.
The Law Office of Jerome Paun is frequently successful in overcoming objections to our clients' applications for diversionary programs.
For a free criminal defense consultation with the Law Office of Jerome Paun to see if you may be eligible for a diversionary program to avoid a criminal conviction, jail sentence and/or a criminal record, call us toll free at 866-787-0119 or send us an e-mail.