Table of Contents:
- Diversion Programs
- What is a Diversion Program?
- Tarrant County Diversion Programs
- How Do Diversion Programs Work?
- Specialty Courts in Texas
- Diversion Programs in Tarrant County
- Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program (FODP)
- Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP)
- Eligibility for Deferred Prosecution Program in Tarrant County
- Conditions of the Deferred Prosecution Program:
- Tarrant County DIRECT Program
- Eligibility for DIRECT
- DIRECT COURT
- Application process for DIRECT Court
- Conditions of DIRECT
- Cost of DIRECT Court
- Benefits of DIRECT Court
- Tarrant County Domestic Violence Diversion Program
- Tarrant County Youthful Offender Diversion Alternative (YODA)
- Tarrant County Other Behavioral Intervention with Assault Non-Family Program (OBI WAN)
- Tarrant County Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP)
- Learn more about FAIP in Tarrant County
- Felony Alcohol Intervention Program in Tarrant County
- Tarrant County DWI Court
- Tarrant County DWI Court Program Requirements
- Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program
- Eligibility for Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion
- Phases for Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion
- Conditions of Mental Health Diversion
- Mental Health Diversion Program
- Tarrant County Veteran’s Court Diversion Program
- Tarrant County Reaching Independence Through Self-Empowerment (RISE)
- Tarrant County SWIFT Program
- Tarrant County SWIFT Success
The criminal justice system, generally, has three ways to deal with crime: punish the criminal, deter future crimes, and rehabilitate the individual who committed the crime. Diversion programs focus on rehabilitating individuals. Tarrant County stands out in Texas for the number of diversion programs that are available to certain categories of offenders.
Before we get into what diversion programs are and which diversion programs are available in Tarrant County, it is important to point out two things: First, diversion programs are meant for individuals who are guilty of the offense for which they are charged. In other words, if you believe you are not guilty of an offense, your attorney will advise you on how to best contest your guilt and not advise you to apply for diversion. Second, diversion programs are difficult to enter and are only available to individuals who are motivated to change.
What is a 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, potentially including avoiding a prison sentence. However, the purpose of diversion programs is not only to avoid convictions or punishment. Diversion programs are meant to give the accused an opportunity for rehabilitation, which will be rewarded.
Tarrant County Diversion Programs
Tarrant County’s Diversion Programs require you to have an attorney, who will assist you with the application process and guide you through the program. Our firm has helped a great number of individuals enter diversion programs. As former Tarrant County prosecutors, we are uniquely positioned to advise you about how to maximize your chances of getting into a Tarrant County Diversion Program.
How Do Diversion Programs Work?
Diversion programs are only meant for individuals who are guilty of the offense for which they are charged. 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. Applicants must, instead, demonstrate a commitment to changing their lives and be accepted after a rigorous application process.
Generally, diversion programs, which are also referred to as 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 as long as they abide by the stringent requirements of the specialty court 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 and 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 problem, which has led 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.
Diversion Programs in Tarrant County
Tarrant County has a number of specialty court programs. You can learn more about Tarrant County Diversion Programs below:
Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program (FODP)
The First Offender Drug Program is a limited-supervision program for first-time drug offenders that would be considered a “self-corrector.” The applicant cannot have been convicted, have current or past community supervision or deferred adjudication, or currently have pending offenses other than Class C misdemeanors.
What is FODP?
Are you a first-time drug offender? Tarrant County offers the First Offender Drug Program “FODP” as a limited-supervision program for first-time drug offenders who are considered “self-correctors.” Our attorneys have successfully guided individuals through this program and are available to help you with your recent arrest.
One of the greatest benefits of the First Offender Drug Program is that successful completion of the program will make the arrest record eligible for an expunction.
In order to be considered for the First Offender Drug Program, a defendant must be approved by the Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Participants who are accepted into the program will receive minimum supervision.
Eligibility for First Offender Drug Program:
The applicant cannot have been convicted, have current or past community supervision or deferred adjudication, nor currently have any pending offenses other than Class C misdemeanors.
Eligible offenses for admission include:
- Possession of Controlled Substance, under 1 gram
- Possession of Controlled Substance, 1-4 grams
- Possession of Controlled Substance under 2 ounces
- Possession of Marijuana under 2 ounces
- Possession of Marijuana 2-4 ounces
- Forging or Altering Prescription
- Possession of Dangerous Drug
- Diversion of a Controlled Substance
- Attempt of any above-listed offense
Program Fees for First Offender Drug Program
The program cost includes the costs of testing and classes for the program. The felony program is 180 days for $550. The misdemeanor program is 90 days for $350. Each program consists of a short-term education class, urinalysis testing, and for the felony programs, two hair tests during the duration of the program.
Entry Process for First Offender Drug Program
- A defendant speaks with his/her attorney about participating in the First Offender Drug Program.
- A defendant and his/her attorney will fill out the one-page application. A completed application must be submitted within 90 days of case filing.
- An Assistant Criminal District Attorney approves or denies the defendant for the program and relays to decision to the Case Manager who in turn will notify court coordinator to set plea date and time.
- Defendant will appear in appropriate court, enter a guilty plea, and formally commence the First Offender Drug Program.
Conditions of the First Offender Drug Program
- Random Urinalysis for drug testing
- Reporting to a case manager
- Drug education classes
- Life skills classes
If the defendant violates any term or condition of the program, a termination letter is completed by the Case Manager and signed by the presiding judge. Termination from the program will result in a sentencing hearing with punishment set by the court within the full range of punishment.
If the defendant successfully completes the program, on the dismissal court date, the Assistant Criminal District Attorney will present to the Judge a Motion to Dismiss the case.
If you were charged with a drug offense, consider the Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program and call our Fort Worth Criminal Lawyers at 817-203-2220.
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.
Are you under age 24? Is this your first – and hopefully last – arrest? Are you interested in avoiding a conviction and removing the arrest from your record? If so, the Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program could be the opportunity you are looking for.
As former Tarrant County prosecutors, we’ve been on the other side of the DPP process and vetted and interviewed candidates who applied to the program. Now as defense attorneys, we are extremely successful in getting our clients into DPP. However, the most important factor in the admission process is you.
The DPP process begins by hiring an attorney who will guide you through the application process. Common offenses that are eligible for the DPP program are possession of marijuana and shoplifting charges.
The Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) was created by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office to give qualifying and deserving youthful first-time offenders a chance at rehabilitation and having their case dismissed.
Eligibility for Deferred Prosecution Program in Tarrant County
Applicants must hire an attorney and apply for the program within 60 days of their case being filed. There are no exceptions.
The DPP application is obtained by the attorney. The applicant must completely fill out the application, provide two letters of recommendation, provide a personal statement, transcripts, and a negative drug test administered by the Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD) of Tarrant County.
Drug testing will be performed by CSCD at the following locations (first come, first served)
- Central 200 W Belknap St, (basement) MALES only 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
- Central 300 W Belknap St, (4th floor) FEMALES only 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
- 3210 Miller Ave (Miller Complex) MALE and FEMALE 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Participants are given two chances within 30 minutes to provide a sample, if no sample is given after two attempts it is considered a stall violation.
DPP Track A – Eligible Offenses
- Theft and theft of service, where the value is less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle – (SJF)
- Burglary (vehicle, building, coin operated machine – (M to SJF)
- Credit card and debit card abuse – (F)
- Removal, destruction or concealment of writing
- Criminal mischief, where the loss is less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
- Criminal trespass – (M)
- Evading arrest, no vehicle, no injury – (M)
- Failure to ID – (M)
- False report to police officer – (M)
- Forgery – (M)
- Purchase or furnish alcohol to minor – (M)
- Sell or make alcohol available to a minor – (M)
- Failure to stop at accident or Failure to give notice fixed object – (M)
- Tampering with government record – (M to SJF)
- Graffiti – pecuniary loss less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
- Silent or abusive calls – 911 – (M)
- Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, less than five items – (SJF)
- Trademark counterfeiting, less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
- Labeling unauthorized recording – (M to SJF)
- Possession, manufacture, distribution of instrument to commit retail theft – (M)
DPP Track B – Eligible Offenses
- Possession of marijuana under 2 ounces – (M)
- Possession of marijuana 2-4 ounces – (M)
- Possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, drug-free zone – (M)
- Possession of marijuana 2-4 ounces, drug-free zone – (SJF)
- Possession of controlled substance (PG3), under 28 grams – (M)
- Possession of controlled substance (PG2A), under 2 ounces – (M)
- Possession of controlled substance (PG2A), under 1 gram – (M)
- Possession of a dangerous drug – (M)
- Possession of controlled substance (PG1), under 1 gram – (SJF)
Disqualifications from DPP
- Applicant was over 24 years old at the time of the offense
- Applicant had a previous juvenile adjudication
- Applicant is a member of mental health priority population
- Positive drug screen with application
- Applicant has a previous conviction or supervision for Class B offenses and above
- Previous participation in DPP
- Multiple offenses not occurring out of same criminal episode
- Offense committed after first arrest or while on bond
- Injuring or placing anyone in danger during course of offense
- Gang-related offense
Orientation for DPP
The applicant must attend an orientation before being accepted into DPP. The applicant must be accompanied by a parent or an adult accountability partner. The remainder of the program fee must be paid in full at the conclusion of the orientation. The waivers completed and signed by applicant and defense attorney must be presented at the beginning of the orientation.
Length of Deferred Prosecution Program
The term of supervision is four months for misdemeanor offenses and eight months for felony offenses. If restitution is owed, the term of supervision can be extended to eight months to allow full payment.
Upon successful completion of the program, the offender is entitled to an immediate expunction.
Conditions of the Deferred Prosecution Program:
- Must not commit a violation of the law of this or any other state.
- Must have an attorney.
- Must not associate with persons who have been, are now, or will commit criminal offenses.
- Must not consume alcohol or attend nightclubs, taverns, or bars.
- Must obtain or maintain either full-time employment or full-time school.
- If the applicant failed to graduate from High School, may be required to obtain GED.
- If the applicant currently attends school, may be required to have no unexcused absences.
- Must complete urine analysis, polygraph, blood alcohol, or head follicle testing at the participant’s expense upon request.
- Must support dependents.
- Must notify the District Attorney’s office within 24-hrs if address, employment, or enrollment in school change.
- Must pay restitution and appointed attorney’s fees.
- Report monthly via mail in report.
- Obey parents/roommates house rules.
Benefits of the DPP
- Successful completion results in a dismissal which can be ultimately expunged.
- The program is the most inexpensive of deferred prosecution programs.
You must have an attorney to get into the Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program. All of the senior attorneys at our firm are former Tarrant County Assistant District Attorneys. As former prosecutors, we know exactly what it takes to get through the application and interview process. If you want to find out how you can maximize your chances of getting into the program, call Varghese Summersett PLLC at (817) 203-2220. If you have questions for the program administrators to check on the status of your application or to see if your monthly report has made it to the office, call the Deferred Prosecution Program at (817) 884-1633.
Tarrant County DIRECT Program
DIRECT stands for Drug Impact Rehabilitation Enhanced Comprehensive Treatment. It is a drug court program for non-violent offenders. A person who is accepted into the DIRECT Drug Court Program will go through an intensive probation, but successfully completing DIRECT could result in the person avoid prison time, and even receiving a shortened probation sentence.
Have you been arrested and charged with a drug offense in Tarrant County, but are ready to live drug-free? The Tarrant County DIRECT program can help you obtain and maintain sobriety while favorably resolving your criminal case and helping keep your record clean.
DIRECT stands for Drug Impact Rehabilitation Enhanced Comprehensive Treatment. It is a drug court program for non-violent offenders. A person who is accepted into the DIRECT Drug Court Program will go through an intensive probation, but successfully completing DIRECT could result in the person avoid prison time, and even receiving a shortened probation sentence.
DIRECT in Tarrant County focuses on high-risk high-needs individuals.
Eligibility for DIRECT
- Applicants with significant drug problem over a long period of time.
- Applicants with a criminal history of two or fewer convictions.
DIRECT Court generally does not accept criminal charges involving weapons and/or death or applicants with a history of assaultive offenses.
- Criminal charges with Possession of Controlled Substances under 10g/Possession of Marijuana under 1lb.
- Offenses where the use of alcohol or controlled substance is suspected to have significantly contributed to the commission of the offense if:
- The offense did not involve carrying, possession or using a firearm or other dangerous weapon;
- The offense did not involve the use of force against the person of another; or
- The offense did not involve the death of, or serious bodily injury to, any person.
Application process for DIRECT Court
Applicant screened by DIRECT staff to determine if pre-trial diversion or post-plea program is the best option.
You must provide clean urinalysis upon admission.
Defendant pleads guilty and plea of guilty to deferred adjudication or straight probation for a minimum of two years.
Conditions of DIRECT
- Narcotics Anonymous and/or Alcoholics Anonymous
- Random Urine analysis
- Employment/Enrollment in School
Cost of DIRECT Court
- $1000 fee with total expenditure up to $3,500.
- Program fee may be paid out over time.
- Lab fees must be paid at the time of the test.
- If the program is successfully completed, the remainder of the fee may be waived.
- Scholarships for program fee cost are available.
Benefits of DIRECT Court
- If applicant pled to deferred adjudication, he/she may be eligible for non-disclosure.
- Avoid penitentiary time.
- Presiding Judges: Louis Sturns, Ruben Gonzalez, Scott Wisch
- Program Manager: Cynthia Velazquez
Tarrant County Domestic Violence Diversion Program
The Domestic Violence Diversion Program targets domestic violence or violence between intimate partners. Not all family violence offenses are eligible for this program as it is meant for individuals who were in a dating relationship or marriage.
Learn more about the Domestic Violence 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 first-time offenders aged 17 and 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).
Learn more about Tarrant County YODA.
Tarrant County Other Behavioral Intervention with Assault Non-Family Program (OBI WAN)
OBI WAN is an extension of the YODA program for first-time defendants between the ages of 17 and 25 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).
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. Generally, a person is placed on probation for four years, with time in jail as a condition of probation. An individual who is in FAIP will be revoked to a seven-year sentence if they violate the conditions of FAIP probation.
Learn more about FAIP in Tarrant County
FAIP is the Felony Alcohol Intervention Program in Tarrant County. If you have been arrested for repeated intoxication-related offenses and are facing a felony DWI case in Tarrant County, you may qualify for the Felony Alcohol Intervention Program. The program can also help you recover from a life of addiction and avoid penitentiary time for a DWI felony repetition.
Felony Alcohol Intervention Program in Tarrant County
- No prior 3(g) offenses, Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter
- Must speak English
- Cannot still be serving a previous sentence
- Not excluded if picks up a new case, unless that case is caused by alcohol.
- Generally no unrelated pending cases
- Applicant must want help with alcohol addiction
- If eligible, then sent a letter
- Schedule interview w/in 45 days of letter and 90 days of case being filed
- If accepted, then must plea to DWI-Felony Repetition 7 year probated for 4 years with FAIP conditions.
- Case is transferred to CDC3 for term of probation and any revocations
- $1,350 fine
- 7 years probated for 4 years
- 10-day continuous custody
- Substance Abuse Assessment
- Follow recommended treatment
- 160 hours of Community Service
- Driver’s License suspended (to be reinstated with an Occupational License)
- FAIP specific classes like Alcoholics Anonymous and Partner in Recovery
- Restitution for any accident
- Maintain full-time job 40 hours or more.
- Phase One: 3 months: 90 AA in 90 days, coming to FAIP every work on Monday morning
- Phase Two: Treatment (approximately 4 months)
- Phase Three: Consistent Maintenance (approximately 6 months)
- Phase Four Continuing Care (approximately 8 months)
- Phase Five (Aftercare) in the community to complete the remainder of their 4-year probation term.
- Every advancement gets benefit: Community service waived, Vacation from meetings, etc.
Non-Compliance Sanctions in FAIP:
- Admonishment in FAIP Court
- Loss of privileges
- Work assignments
- Increased supervision
- Demotion of phase advancements
- Days in jail
- Relapse Sanction
Revocations: 7-year sentence
- Any new felony arrest
- People who can’t work the program/keep a job/etc.
- Conduct threatening program: Forging AA sign-in
- Low Recidivism rate: 2%
- Must cheaper than standard probation
- Less jail time
- Less probation
- 15% recidivism
The Tarrant County Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP) is a post-adjudication program for the high-risk repeat DWI offender. We have had clients successfully enter Tarrant County FAIP with exceptional results. To find out how we can help you, contact at (817) 203-2220
Tarrant County DWI Court
The Tarrant County DWI Court Program focuses on individuals who are charged with DWI-Misdemeanor Repetition charges with the goal of preventing high-risk high-needs individuals from reoffending. This is a post-plea program that suspends some fees and time in jail as a condition of probation.
Judge Deborah Nekhom, the presiding judge over County Criminal Court Number Four in Tarrant County, has successfully established a DWI Court in Tarrant County.
A DWI Court is designed to prevent high-risk high-needs individuals from reoffending. A misdemeanor DWI Court focuses on identifying and treating individuals that might otherwise continue to drink and drive, putting themselves and others at risk and thereby risking felony DWI allegations (a third DWI in Texas is a felony). DWI Courts ultimately save taxpayer dollars by holding DWI offenders accountable by treating the underlying costs of repeat drunk driving offenses. Based on a study conducted on three similar DWI courts in Georgia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that recidivism rates dropped from 35% to 15%. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, An Evaluation of the Three Georgia DUI Courts, March 2011 (DOT HS 811 450).
The goal of a misdemeanor DWI Court is to rehabilitate high-risk high-needs individuals by setting out stringent conditions they must follow that is more intensive than a typical probation. Additionally, participants in DWI programs receive individualized attention and immediate sanctions for any violations.
What are the advantages of a DWI Court Program?
Judge Nekhom developed the Tarrant County DWI Court after researching both the supporting legislation and other counties in Texas that successfully implemented the program. The DWI Court is not a diversion program, in the sense that it does not allow a person to avoid a conviction. Instead, it is a post-plea program that offers many advantages over a typical DWI-Misdemeanor Repetition probation.For example, these advantages include:
These advantages include:
• Suspension of DWI fees of up to $4,000;
• Suspension as days in jail as a condition of probation; and
• Financial incentives in obtaining an occupational license.
DWI Court Programs and Nondisclosures
The Tarrant County DWI Court fulfils the conditions laid out in Government Code 123.001, including:
• A non-adversarial approach to promote public safety;
• Early identification and prompt placement of eligible participants into the program;
• Access to a continuum of alcohol-treatment and rehabilitative services;
• Monitoring abstinence through weekly alcohol testing.
Until January 1, 2017, Government Code 123.001 allows individuals who successfully complete programs such as these to obtain nondisclosures sealing the offense from their criminal records. This is not possible with any other disposition after a plea of guilty on a DWI in Texas. Although the DWI Court Program in Tarrant County is designed to take one year, it is anticipated that dedicated participants may have an opportunity to accelerate their graduation date.
Tarrant County DWI Court Program Requirements
The Tarrant County DWI Court Program will be divided into four phases. The first phase will be the most intensive in regards to the classes and conditions a participant must complete. Participants will be required to attend AA, have a sponsor, regularly report to court and the Community Supervision and Corrections Department, and provide clean urine and drug tests to prove their sobriety. Participants will also interact with FAIP participants, who are facing felony DWI allegations to further remind the DWI Court Program Participants about the dangers of reoffending. The Court will have the ability to impose sanctions on participants, including jail time. The program is also designed to provide sanctions quickly to punish infractions
Prior 3(g) offenses and sex offenses make a person ineligible for entry into the DWI Court Program.
If you or a loved one are facing a second DWI charge in Tarrant County and are seeking representation, call us at (817) 203-2220 to discuss your case and to find out if you would be a good candidate for the Tarrant County DWI Diversion Court 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 and to expedite them through the criminal justice system.
Do you or a loved one struggle with a mental illness? Has your struggle led you to commit criminal offenses? The Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program can help treat your mental disability and keep your record clean. This pre-trial diversion program is available to individuals charged with offenses in Tarrant County. If you are looking for attorneys with experience successfully admitting individuals into the Mental Health Diversion Program, contact us at (817) 203-2220.
Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program Overview
Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program (MHD) is a pre-trial, post-booking diversion program for mentally impaired offenders. The program offers offenders a treatment option that is judicially supervised. It is designed to divert mentally impaired offenders out of the traditional criminal justice process.
Screening Process for Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion
- Starts by referral. The referral may be made by the defense attorney.
- DA liaison reviews defendant for eligibility.
- If approved for screening, then program staff will meet with them for screening and collection of data.
- The program manager will complete evaluation and her findings will be sent to DA with a summary of discussion and recommendation.
- DA will then decide whether someone is approved or not approve for the program.
- Applicant attends MHD docket for admission
Eligibility for Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion
- Applicant must be competent
- Must be functioning with more than behavior modification issue.
- Applicant must be out on bond. In-custody cases are not accepted for review.
- Applicant’s mental health diagnosis must precede criminal offense.
- Charged with a misdemeanor charge or low-level non-violent offense.
- Screening for program will not interfere with indictment
- The defendant must admit to the offense, express interest to get into the program.
- Applicant must express ability to complete the program.
- Drive themselves
- Have support system
- Will program meet their needs
- Mental health diagnosis must correlate to the offense charged.
- Does the story match the records?
Ineligible for Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion
- Any 3(g) offense
- Any gang Affiliation
- Assault Serious Bodily Injury (SBI)
- Delivery/Manufacturing Controlled Substance
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Applicants who need inpatient hospitalization.
- Applicants who lack the resources to participate
Process and Expectations for Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion
- Staff Screening/Data Collection process may take up to three weeks but is dependent upon the timeliness of medical records.
- MHD Staff meets with the defendant /orientation to explain program expectations (i.e.: what requirements are, sign medical releases for hospital stays, etc.)
- Records must pre-date the arrest date
- Will be drug tested (UA)
- Positive UA does not automatically reject applicant but could affect application process
- TCU screening instruments are administered to determine applicant’s addiction/stability.
- Records provided by the applicant are compared to TCU risk indicators.
- If indicators report “High Risk” applicant is considered for admission into MHD.
- TCAT “Tarrant County Assertiveness Training” begins for felony level offenses.
- The program manager will complete clinical interview.
- High risk eligible.
- Low risk is not.
- Once accepted through screening, a defendant will complete the application process by attending the MHD meeting and sign the required documents.
- Upon acceptance into the program, Misdemeanor cases transferred to CCC9
- Felony cases are “reassigned”
- Once admitted, defendant no longer has to appear.
Phases for Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion
Progressive Sanctions (community service, jail time, revocation for not showing up or completing classes)/Therapeutic Intervention (rehab for drug abuse)
- One: Integration
- Two: Consistency
- Three: Reintegration
- Treatment plan
- GED Education
- Stable housing
- Engage in community
- Meet with case manager
- Mentally stable
- Avoid jail
LENGTH: 12-24 months depending upon the actions of the defendant
Conditions of Mental Health Diversion
- Must not commit a criminal offense for the duration of the program.
- Must not consume alcohol or non-prescribed controlled substances.
- Must submit to random chemical testing.
- Must cooperate with mental health treatment and/or counseling as recommended.
- Must take all psychiatric medications as prescribed.
- Must keep all appointments and attend all compliance hearings as scheduled.
- Must agree to report to MHDP office and all other appointments as directed.
- Must keep the program staff informed of any changes in address, telephone number and employer.
- Must consent to the release of protected information as permitted under Texas law.
- Must have no contact with any person of disreputable or harmful character.
- Must waive his/her rights to a speedy indictment, if charged with a felony offense, and to a speedy trial as provided for under the Code of Criminal Procedure of Texas, as well as the Texas and United States Constitutions.
- Must acknowledge that failure to comply with any term of this agreement will cause the State to withdraw from this agreement and proceed with the prosecution of this offense.
- Acknowledge that upon successful completion of the diversion agreement the defendant shall be permitted to withdraw the plea of guilty, the State of Texas shall dismiss the charge in this matter and the charge will be eligible for expunction. However, this result is applicable only to charges that were specifically admitted to this program in anticipation of a diversion and dismissal.
- Must attend monthly compliance hearings held in open court as directed.
- Must agree to follow any/all directives given by MHDP in accordance with their individual treatment plan and program goals.
Mental Health Diversion Program
Presiding Judge: Brent A. Carr
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 for veterans or current members of the United States Armed Forces, including members of the Reserves, National Guard, or State Guard.
Learn more about Tarrant County Veteran’s Court.
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 the 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.
Tarrant County RISE Diversion Program
Have you struggled with addiction, drug dependency, or mental illness while struggling through a life of prostitution? The Tarrant County Reaching Independence through Self Empowerment, otherwise known as RISE, could be your chance to start over and become self-sufficient.
“Giving a woman who has been living on the streets some options is much better than throwing her in jail.” – Joan Rycraft, retired University of Texas Arlington Social Worker.
PURPOSE: Reaching Independence through Self Empowerment (RISE) seeks to intervene in the lives of women who have a long history of addiction and mental illness whose common thread is a record filled with arrests for prostitution.
ELIGIBLE: Women charged with felony or misdemeanor level offenses with an expressed desire to change from a life of prostitution and enter upon a path of treatment, stabilization, and rehabilitation.
INELIGIBLE: Screening process will weed out applicants with past violent behavior and low desire for cognitive change.
BENEFITS: The RISE program provides housing, education, job training, and employment and addresses underlying causing drug, mental health and economic issues with long-term therapy and supervision by social workers, attorneys, and probation officers.
If you believe you might be a candidate for the RISE Diversion Program, contact our attorneys today at (817) 203-2220 or online.
Presiding Judge: Brent Carr, County Criminal Court Number Nine
Tarrant County SWIFT Program
The Tarrant County SWIFT program is a post-plea intensive probation program that gives high-risk, high-need offenders an opportunity to change — and immediate sanctions for violations. The program is overseen by state District Judge Mollee Westfall and is aimed at motivating noncompliant probationers to follow the rules.
SWIFT, or Supervision With Intensive enForcemenT, uses a progressive sanction model to initiate change in the behavior of probationers. Typically, a probationer outside of the SWIFT program may have a number of minor violations before being revoked. SWIFT is different because each minor violation is addressed immediately. For instance, a SWIFT probationer may spend a weekend in jail for their first dirty UA. A second violation for the same thing may result in a week in jail. These sanctions are generally imposed the day after the violation is reported, instead of weeks or months later.
Judge Westfall also requires honesty from SWIFT probationers. It is not uncommon to see a SWIFT probationer at the bench being reminded that a sanction for lying about an offense will result in a greater sanction than the one imposed for a truthful admission. Many SWIFT probationers have reported that they stopped violating their probation conditions because they knew they would get caught.
Probationers are also aware that violating probation by committing a new offense will almost certain result in a probation revocation and prison sentence. The goal of SWIFT is to prevent future offenses by implementing quick and meaningful sanctions for even minor violations.
Tarrant County SWIFT Success
National studies of programs almost identical to SWIFT have shown probationers in this type of program are half as likely to be revoked altogether and half as likely to commit new offenses. An example of a Tarrant County SWIFT success story is featured here.
Also published on Medium.