Connecticut criminal law has a variety of different goals. In a narrow sense, it exists to punish offenders and to deter people from committing crimes. However, the law also has a more positive purpose; in fact, one of the most important goals of the criminal law system is rehabilitation. Yet, ordinary criminal law punishments like prison or fines are notoriously bad at preventing recidivism. In order to deal with this, the Connecticut legislature introduced a set pretrial diversion programs. These programs are available to some less serious offenders, who can complete the rehabilitative programs and see their charges dismissed.
There are a variety of pretrial diversion programs available in Connecticut, including Accelerated Rehabilitation (AR), the Pretrial Drug Education Program, the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission Diversionary Program (CADAC), the Family Violence Education Program, and the Alcohol Education Program.
The Programs’ Specifics
- Accelerated Rehabilitation—The AR programs accepts people who have been charged with Class D felonies or misdemeanors and who are not likely to offend again. People charged with Class C felonies may also participate if they can show good cause. Those charged with Class B felonies, such as larceny, may be eligible with good cause shown. The program is only available to people once during their lives and they may not have any prior convictions. The AR program is essentially a probationary period lasting up to two years that can include elements such as counseling and community service. A successful completion will see the charges dismissed.
- Pretrial Drug Education Program—This program is only available to those who have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, less than four ounces of marijuana, or possession of small amounts of narcotics. It can be used up to three times, however, the third time requires a showing of good cause. The program changes slightly depending on the number of times someone has gone through it, but it can include a mix of substance abuse educational classes and drug treatment along with possible community service. This program also results in complete dismissal if completed.
- CADAC—The CADAC program is available to people who were charged with more severe drug crimes than the Pretrial Drug Education Program would allow. However, to qualify, the offender must show that they were suffering from a drug addiction at the time of the crime. The program will usually consist of probation, along with substance abuse treatment, possibly within a hospital or other inpatient setting. If probation is successfully completed, the charges will be dismissed.
- Family Violence Education Program—The Family Violence Education Program accepts people charged with domestic abuse. The program involves between nine and 26 hour-long educational classes once per week, and successful completion results in a one to two-year probation. After probation is complete the charges will be dismissed from the Connecticut criminal record.
- Alcohol Education Program—The Alcohol Education Program is available to those who have been arrested for a DUI. People qualify if it is their first DUI or if they have had no prior DUIs in the past 10 years. Additionally, the program disqualifies people who have committed second degree felonies such as vehicular manslaughter or those with their commercial driver’s license (CDL). A person charged with DUI is eligible for this program once every 10 years so long as there have been no intervening convictions during that time. The program itself consists of 10 to 15 classes about DUIs and alcohol, a probation period of up to one year, a possible victim impact program run by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and community service. Successful completion of the program results in the charges being dismissed without a conviction.
Pretrial diversion programs can be a good option if you have been charged with a minor crime and do not want a criminal record following you for the rest of your life. If you have been charged and want to learn about your options, contact a Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. Call [[phone1]] to schedule an initial consultation.