Tarrant County Diversion Programs

What Diversion Programs are Available for Criminal Cases in Tarrant County?

Tarrant County Diversion Programs

There are a number of ways a person may avoid the most serious consequences of an arrest. One way might be through a true diversion program. True diversion programs divert individuals who are facing the consequences of an arrest. There are also post-conviction diversion programs which allow a person the opportunity to avoid the typical punishments following a conviction. The Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP) would be an example of this. The purpose of diversion programs is not to avoid convictions or punishment. It is, instead, meant to give the accused an opportunity for rehabilitation and demonstrated rehabilitation will be rewarded. This article covers Tarrant County Diversion Programs. These programs require you have an attorney to guide you through the process. Our firm works diligently to maximize you chances of entry into these programs. If you are looking for attorneys who have seen great success in getting clients into these programs, call us at (817) 203-2220.

How Do Diversion Programs Work?

Diversion programs are only meant for individuals who are guilty of the offense they are charged with. They allow certain individuals to move past their crimes: these can be first-time offenders who learned their lesson when they were arrested, and there are those who will never get out of their cycle of crime, unless the cycle is broken by an alternative that puts their life back on track. Admission into a diversion program is not something that can be guaranteed nor are they meant for individuals who believe they are entitled to be in the program. No one is entitled to be in any of these programs. They exist because the State extends grace to individuals charged with crimes, who have a demonstrated commitment to changes their lives for the better, and in turn become productive members of society instead of a drain on the system. They also exist because of hundreds of hours volunteered by judges who create these programs and then find the manpower and resources to run them. It takes an incredible amount of work to create a specialty court diversion program, to have it approved by the State, obtain grants, and keep up with recording and tracking the effectiveness of the programs.

Generally, specialty court programs have both a carrot and a stick. For pre-plea diversion programs, the carrot might be offering the person a dismissal and shot at an expunction, while the stick is the person getting kicked out of the program with prejudice. For post-plea programs (where the person is found guilty, typically in the case of repeat offenders) the benefit is they are given an opportunity to stay out of prison so long as they abide by the stringent requirements of the specialty court program. Damocles’ sword may take the form of a pre-determined prison sentence that is hanging over the person’s head as long as they are in the program.

Specialty Courts in Tarrant County

Tarrant County has a number of specialty court programs. They include programs specifically designed for those in need of mental health assistance, military disability, and drug and alcohol addiction. You can learn more about these programs at the links below.

Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP)

The Deferred Prosecution Program is a limited supervision program designed to give a young person in trouble for the first time the chance to rehabilitate himself or herself without the stigma of a criminal conviction.

DPP Eligibility 

DPP eligibility is available to offenders between the ages of 17 and 24 at the time of the offense, who have no been previously convicted or supervised for a Class B offense or above, and are willing and able to rehabilitate themselves.

Click here to learn more about DPP.

Tarrant County Drug Diversion Program (DIRECT)

The DIRECT Drug Court Program offers non-violent offenders a judicially supervised treatment regimen tailored to meet their individual needs. Participants are referred to treatment providers and are required to attend therapeutic rehabilitative activities.

DIRECT DIVERSION ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility for the DIRECT program includes defendants who are arrested for, charged with, or convicted of: an offense in which an element of the offense is the use, possession or sale of marihuana or a controlled substance, an offense in which the use of a controlled substance is suspected to have significantly contributed to the commission of the offense if the offense did not involve carrying, possessing or using a firearm, the use of force against another person, or the death of or serious bodily injury to another.

Click here to learn more about DIRECT.

Tarrant County Family Violence Diversion Program

The Family Violence Diversion Program targets domestic violence or violence between intimate partners. Selected defendants charged with family violence in Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 5 are places into the pre-trial diversion court which monitors the defendant’s progress in a non-adversarial manner, and is in lieu of traditional case processing.

Family Violence Diversion Eligibility

  • Partner-on-partner violence
  • No current or prior violations of protective orders
  • No stalking activity
  • No open warrants
  • No other pending charges
  • No prior history of diversion
  • Commitment to completing a prescribed program, and
  • Consent of victim for offender participation

Tarrant County Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP)

FAIP is a specialty program used to capitalize on the trauma and consequences of an arrest by early intervention in the alcoholic’s course of abuse; it is a post-adjudication program for the high-risk DWI offender.  

FAIP Eligibility

Criteria for participation in FAIP includes:

  • Charged with felony DWI (two or more prior convictions)
  • 17 years of age or older
  • Resident of Tarrant County
  • No prior convictions, or pending cases, under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.12 3g
  • No intoxication assault convictions
  • No prior involuntary or intoxication manslaughter convictions
  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Not currently on parole
  • Not on community supervision in another jurisdiction
  • Accepted by the FAIP team

Click here to learn more about FAIP.

Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program

The First Offender Drug Program is a limited-supervision program for first-time drug offenders that would be considered a “self-corrector.”

First Offender Drug Program Eligibility 

  • Possession of Controlled Substance, under 1 gram
  • Possession of Controlled Substance, 1-4 grams
  • Possession of Controlled Substance, under 2 oz.
  • Possession of Marihuana, under 2 oz.
  • Possession of Marihuana, 2-4 ounces
  • Drug-Free Zone, Controlled Substance under 28 grams
  • Drug-Free Zone, Marihuana 2-4 ounces
  • Forging or Altering Prescription
  • Possession of Dangerous Drug
  • Diversion of a Controlled Substance
  • Attempt of any above-listed offense

Applicant cannot have been convicted, have current or past community supervision or deferred adjudication, nor currently have any pending case for offenses other than Class C misdemeanors.

The application for FODP must be submitted within 90 days of the case being filed.

Click here to learn more about the Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program.

Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program

The Mental Health Court Diversion Program is a post-booking, pre-trial diversion program for mentally impaired offenders, offering eligible offenders a treatment option that is judicially supervised. It is designed to divert mentally impaired offenders out of the traditional criminal justice process and into appropriate rehabilitative alternatives.  

The mission of the Mental Health Court Diversion Program is to identify mentally impaired offenders, to expedite them through the criminal justice system.

Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the Mental Health Diversion Program, the offender must have a documented mental impairment by a mental health professional and the current offense must be related to the mental impairment. Misdemeanors and low-level non-violent felony offenses are considered eligible; family violence cases are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Click here to learn more about the Mental Health Diversion Program.

Tarrant County Youthful Offender Diversion Alternative (YODA)

YODA is an alternative to standard pre-trial diversion programs for family assaults presented in County Criminal Court Number Five. This program provides counseling and case management to youthful offenders aged 17-25, who have been arrested for assault against a non-intimate family member (defined as blood relative, related by marriage or intimate relationship with another family member).

Tarrant County Youthful Offender Diversion Alternative (YODA) Eligibility

  • First-time offenders only
  • Ages 17-25 at the time of enrollment into program
  • Assault of a non-intimate partner
  • Cannot be on probation/parole
  • Cannot have other pending charges
  • Cannot have any pending felony charges or convictions of felony charges

Tarrant County Other Behavioral Intervention with Assault Non-Family Program (OBI WAN)

OBI WAN is an extension of the YODA program for defendants with simple assault cases involving persons who are not family members defined as blood relative, related by marriage or intimate relationship with another family member (i.e. roommates).

 OBIWAN Eligibility

  • First-time offenders only
  • Ages 17-25 at time of enrollment into program
  • Cannot be on probation/parole
  • Cannot have other pending charges
  • Cannot have any pending felony charges or convictions of felony charges
  • Participant must be actively attending school full-time and/or employed.

Tarrant County Reaching Independence Through Self-Empowerment (RISE)

The mission of the RISE Program is to identify vulnerable women with extensive histories of prostitution or prostitution-related offenses, expedite them through the criminal justice system and help them achieve abstinence from all mood altering substances, mental stability, permanent housing and educational/work opportunities that provide them with the legal means to maintain a healthy, productive lifestyle.

With consent of an individual’s attorney, the person is contacted by a member of the RISE staff then evaluated through use of validated assessment instruments and a clinical interview and selected if found to be likely to achieve lifestyle change through participation in the program.

Click here to learn more about RISE.

Tarrant County Veteran’s Court Diversion Program

The Veteran’s Court Diversion Program is a diversion program for Justice Involved Veterans who are currently facing prosecution for one or more criminal cases. The program offers offenders a treatment option that is judicially supervised.

Tarrant County Veteran’s Court Diversion Program Eligibility

  • Veteran or current member of the United States Armed Forces, including a member of the Reserves, National Guard, or State Guard.
  • Clinical diagnosis of a brain injury, mental illness, or mental disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder, that resulted from the JIV military service in a combat zone or other similar hazardous duty area; and materially affected the JIV criminal conduct at issue in the case.
  • Current case must be pending in Tarrant County.

Click here to learn more about the Veteran’s Court Diversion Program.

Specialty Courts in Texas

There are over 140 specialty court programs in Texas. There are adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts, DWI courts, mental health courts, veteran’s courts, just to name a few. Each specialty court is designed to provide an opportunity for a group of individuals who share a common underlying program that has lead to their criminal behavior. This includes things like PTSD, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and diagnosed mental health conditions. Each specialty court is designed to first deal with the underlying issue. For example, a specialty court program for drug offenders might include providing clean random drug tests for a period of time, going through a drug treatment program, and meeting with case managers. A specialty court for repeat DWI offenders might require monitors to ensure the person is not drinking, sobriety for an extended period of time, full-time employment, restitution, and attending programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

 Video: Considerations for First-Time Offenders

About the Author
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Benson Varghese

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Benson Varghese is the Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a state and federal practitioner who has handled thousands criminal cases and taken over 100 cases to trial by jury. Benson is frequently called upon to handle cases that require a high degree of knowledge in technology, scientific evidence, forensic evidence, as well as serious intoxication cases. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.