The Law Office of Tina Sypek D'Amato, LLC
A Small Firm with a Big Heart
PROGRAMS TO AVOID CRIMINAL CONVICTION
Connecticut offers diversionary programs to defendants for certain offenses. The aim of these programs is to provide defendants with a second chance and in some cases, offer help where it’s needed. Tina Sypek D’amato will evaluate your case to determine whether you qualify for one of the available programs and explain your options to you.
The most common of these programs include: Drug Education Program, Accelerated Rehabilitation, Supervised Diversionary Program, Alcohol Education Program and Family Violence Education Program. If you qualify for any of these programs, you stand the chance of avoiding criminal conviction.
A. Drug Education Program
When arrested for illegal possession of marijuana or possession of illegal drugs, including narcotics, benzodiazepines and other controlled substances, the accused is eligible for the drug education program up to three times.The third time however, the lawyer must show good cause. Eligible does not mean guaranteed; therefore you need an experienced, knowledgeable attorney such as Attorney D'Amato.
If successfully completed, your case will be dismissed. If you are unsuccessful however, your case is brought back to court and you will be prosecuted. In some cases, with a knowledgeable attorney, the court will agree to reinstate the program so that you get a second chance.
There are fees associated with applying for the program, getting an evaluation and then of course, the program itself. The fees total $850.00. Sometimes, the program fees can be eliminated if you are referred to treatment rather than classes, as your insurance will cover the treatment. There are positives and negatives in determining whether paying the fees for the program is more advantageous to you as an individual. Attorney D'Amato will discuss those alternatives and together, you will determine which is the right course of action.
In addition, you will have to do a significant amount of community service.The number of times you've taken the program will determine how many days of community service you will have to do. That can range between 5 to 30 days of community service. Balancing life including work and family obligations and this program is very difficult, but Attorney Tina Sypek D'Amato can help you and encourage you in order to avoid a criminal record.
Her advice is, when in doubt, give me a call. Don't do or not do anything without asking me. I represent you and I will counsel you throughout the process. That includes while you're undergoing the program. But even if you plead guilty to something and you're having problems on probation, give me a call before you get violated so that I can help you to understand what's going on and what needs to be done in order to help you avoid getting arrested for a violation or probation. A lot of times, the client misunderstands what the probation officer is asking of him but you have to remember that the probation officer can be either your best friend or your worst enemy. So, before you have a problem, give Attorney Tina D'Amato a call.
B. Accelerated Rehabilitation
Accelerated rehabilitation is another program that results in a dismissal. It is for first time offenders who are charged with crimes that are not so serious and cases where the judge finds that the accused is unlikely to commit the offense again. Even in some serious cases, a judge can grant the program for good cause. Having an experienced lawyer will give you the best chance at being enrolled in this program. People are eligible for this program once every 10 years so long as they have no convictions on their record. The program costs a total of $135 and can be granted for up to two years. Generally speaking, all the applicant needs to do is stay out of trouble for the specific period of time and their case will be dismissed. However, there are times, especially in more serious cases, where the applicant may have to be monitored by probation and engage some sort of treatment and/or community service. Regardless, the outcome of a successful completion of this program is always a dismissal.
VETERANS ARE GIVEN A SPECIAL PRIVILEGE TO TAKE THIS PROGRAM TWICE.
C. Supervised Diversionary Program
The supervised diversionary program is for people who have been charged with a crime that is not so serious and and have a psychiatric condition other than substance use and abuse.
Like Accelerated Rehabilitation, the successful completion of the supervised diversionary program results in a dismissal. However, there are no fees required and you may be able to enrol twice even if you have a record. The difference however, is that you are supervised by probation and you will need to attend some sort of mental health treatment. Most of the time, this program is granted for 2 years; however, with an experienced lawyer like Attorney D'Amato, that time may be able to be reduced.
Furthermore, just because you're eligible for something doesn't mean you're going to get it. Having an experienced lawyer like Attorney D'Amato can give you the best chance at that program being granted and the amount of time before dismissal being as short as possible.
D. Alcohol Education Program
The alcohol education program was created for first-time DUI offenders to avoid a conviction, and instead, receive education or treatment when they are involved in driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A person is eligible for this program once every 10 years, assuming they have not been convicted of driving under the influence within that time frame.
If the court grants the program, the applicant will be required to attend either 10 or 15 classes depending on what is recommended after an evaluation. In addition, the court will usually require the applicant to attend a victim impact panel.
There are fees associated with this program depending on the amount of classes one is required to attend. Those fees range from $550.00 to $750.00. The victim impact panel charges $75.00.
This program will result in a dismissal of your charges. Nonetheless it is important to note that the Department of Motor Vehicles will still suspend your license for 45 days and you will still be required to install an ignition interlock device for one year in order to restore your license.
And if a motor vehicle accident resulted in part because of your impaired condition, the granting of the program becomes more difficult so it's important to hire an experienced lawyer to handle your DUI so that your case gets dismissed and collateral consequences are reduced.
E. Family Violence Education Program
The family violence education program is available for first time offenders and domestic cases. A domestic case is a case that involves someone that you either live with or are related to by blood or marriage or a case involving someone you’re having a romantic relationship with. The word "violence" is used in all domestic cases whether or not there was an assault.
This program is not available for all domestic cases but only for those cases that are not so serious and where a person is not likely to offend again and of course where they would benefit from anger management. The family violence program can require an applicant to participate in 9 classes, 12 classes or 27 classes depending on the seriousness of the offense. If family services is unwilling to supervise an applicant, then the accused will go back to court for prosecution. Nevertheless, if you have a good lawyer like Attorney D'Amato, other programs are available where a prosecutor and defense attorney can agree, which will result in a nolle. A nolle is similar to a dismissal, however it takes 13 months to go off of your record. While the nolle is pending, your case will no longer be on the judicial website for the public to see.
F. Suspended prosecution for illegal sale delivery or transfer of firearms armor piercing or incendiary 50 caliber ammunition or large-capacity magazines.
This is basically what is called a gun AR; where honest mistakes are made that are not so serious in nature. This includes carrying with an expired permit or having a large-capacity firearm or ammunition without registering it. Other crimes covered include having possession of bulletproof vests and failure to register certain assault weapons purchased before a particular date. These are examples of the crimes covered by the statute but not a complete list. Just like other similar programs, if the program is completed successfully, your charges will be dismissed. In some cases, your gun will actually be returned to you or given to a licensed gun dealer who is able to sell it for you.