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Broward County Diversion Programs

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

October 27, 2020

Most people who are arrested in Broward County are first-time offenders and not seasoned criminals. Since Florida courts understand most of these individuals have made a serious mistake, the prosecution may offer such offenders a plea bargain during pre-trial proceedings. 

One of the most common plea deals the District Attorney’s Office may offer is an opportunity to enter a “pre-trial diversion program,” which is an alternative to jail or prison for individuals who qualify. When a person successfully fulfills all terms and conditions of the program, the judge will dismiss the criminal charges. Common terms and conditions include probation, meetings with a probation officer, regular court hearings, paying court fees, counseling, alcohol or drug evaluation/treatment, random drug testing, etc. 

The following are the diversion programs available in Broward County: 

  • Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) – The Broward Sheriff’s Office administers and supervises the MDP program. Offenders with little or no criminal history are eligible for the program. Common eligible crimes include simple drug possession, petit theft, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, prostitution/solicitation, indecent exposure, assault, and battery. 

  • Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) – The Florida Department of Corrections operates this program. First-time felony offenders who are charged with a third-degree felony are eligible for the 12-month program. 

  • Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Diversion Program – This program is designed to help individuals keep their family unit intact and end the cycle of domestic violence. Participants must complete a 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program, as well as any substance abuse evaluation/treatment if ordered by the court. Once the defendant enters a guilty plea, they must participate in the program for eight (8) months. Common domestic violence offenses eligible for the program include assault, battery, stalking, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief. 

  • Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) Program – Individuals with license suspensions for either failure to appear, failure to complete traffic school (not DUI school), failure to pay penalty, failure to pay child support, or failure to satisfy financial agreements and orders are eligible for the program. DUI offenders, habitual traffic offenders, and those with a permanent driver’s license suspension or revocation are not eligible. If a person successfully completes the program, the DWLS charge will become a charge of driving with no valid driver’s license. 

If you have been arrested in Fort Lauderdale, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today at (954) 840-8713 to let our firm protect your rights and freedom. More than 40 years of combined legal experience!