Aside from DUI, Battery is probably the most serious misdemeanor that you can be charged with. This post will deal only with non-domestic battery. That is, a battery allegedly committed upon somebody not related to the defendant by blood, marriage or by way of a dating relationship. Diversion programs for domestic battery have their own unique set of conditions.
Pursuant to Florida law, the participation in a diversion or deferred prosecution program is contingent upon the approval of the alleged victim. Provided you have no prior criminal history and the alleged victim says it is okay for you to participate in a diversion program, this is what you can expect.
Anger management classes are almost always a condition of any non-domestic battery pretrial diversion program. In Miami-Dade County, the Pretrial Diversion Program (PTD) is administered by one of two private companies; The Advocate Program or Court Options. In Broward County, the Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) is administered by the Broward Sheriff's Office.
In almost all non-domestic battery cases, especially where the alleged victim and defendants are strangers to one another, a stay-away order will be imposed for the duration of the program. Most battery diversion programs are anywhere between 90-180 days long.
Aside from anger management, a stay-away order, and the standard program fees ($150-300), you may have to complete substance abuse counseling, community service hours, or any other condition set by either the program itself or by the State Attorney's Office.
Many cases do not require alleged victim approval for diversion programs. Possession of marijuana and petit theft do not require the approval of anyone other than the Assistant State Attorney assigned to your case. Provided you have no prior criminal history and there are no unusual facts about your case that would make the State Attorney's Office hesitant about letting your participate in a diversion program, you are likely to be accepted into diversion if charged with crimes such as possession of marijuana or petit theft.
Battery cases, however, are admitted to diversion programs on a case-by-case basis.
If you are facing a non-domestic battery charge in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach County, contact me to discuss whether diversion might be an option for you.
Remember - the benefit to diversion is that if you complete the program requirements successfully, your charges will be dismissed.