Pretrial Diversion Agreement in Washington State: What You Need to Know

If you are facing criminal charges in Washington State, you may be wondering about your options for resolving your case without going to trial. One popular option is a pretrial diversion agreement (PDA). In this article, we will discuss what a PDA is, how it works in Washington State, and the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing this option.

What is a Pretrial Diversion Agreement?

A pretrial diversion agreement is a program designed to divert certain criminal offenders away from the traditional criminal justice system. Instead of going to trial and facing potential conviction, individuals may be offered the opportunity to complete a set of conditions and requirements in exchange for having their charges dismissed. This allows offenders to avoid the negative consequences of a criminal conviction, such as incarceration, fines, and a criminal record.

How Does a PDA Work in Washington State?

In Washington State, pretrial diversion agreements are available as part of the state`s diversion program. The program is overseen by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) and is available to offenders charged with certain non-violent crimes, such as drug possession, theft, and property crimes.

To qualify for a PDA under the diversion program, offenders must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having no prior criminal history or having committed a non-violent offense. If eligible, offenders may be required to complete a set of conditions, such as drug treatment, community service, or restitution payments. Once all conditions are met, the charges against the offender will be dismissed.

Benefits of Pursuing a PDA

There are several benefits to pursuing a pretrial diversion agreement in Washington State. First and foremost, it allows offenders to avoid a criminal conviction, which can have serious and long-lasting consequences. A criminal record can make it difficult to find employment, housing, and even obtain loans or credit in the future.

Additionally, a PDA can save time and money for both the offender and the court system. Going to trial can be a lengthy and expensive process, and by diverting certain offenders away from the traditional system, resources can be saved and allocated to more serious cases.

Drawbacks of Pursuing a PDA

While there are many benefits to pursuing a pretrial diversion agreement, there are also some drawbacks to consider. For one, completing the requirements of a PDA can be challenging and time-consuming. Offenders may be required to attend regular drug tests, counseling sessions, or complete community service, which can be difficult to balance with work or family obligations.

Additionally, a PDA is not available for all criminal charges. Individuals charged with violent crimes or sexual offenses are not eligible for a pretrial diversion agreement and must go through the traditional criminal justice system.

Conclusion

If you are facing criminal charges in Washington State, a pretrial diversion agreement may be a viable option for resolving your case without going to trial. By completing a set of conditions and requirements, you can avoid a criminal conviction and the negative consequences that come with it. However, it`s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing a PDA and consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine the best course of action for your situation.