There are two types of Diversion, one is Pre-trial Diversion and the other is Judicial Diversion. Pretrial Diversion is only granted at the discretion of the Attorney General's Office and does not require that the Offender plead guilty. Pre-trial Diversion does involve an agreement between the Offender through their Attorney and the Attorney General's Office, which stipulates all conditions that must be met by the Offender during the time the sentence is suspended. Pretrial Diversion is important for non-US citizens because some guilty pleas could have detrimental immigration ramifications such as deportation, etc.
Upon an Offender's request for Judicial Diversion pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 40-35-313 and through their Attorney, the following steps must be taken:
1) The Offender will meet with a Pretrial Representative who obtains information necessary to complete a
Presentence Report. This Report includes the Offender's personal information such as prior criminal
charges, work history, family, etc..
2) The Offender pleads guilty to the offense(s) and sentencing is withheld pending approval and completion of all
3) The Offender then must go online to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's (TBI) Website at
https://www.tbibackgrounds.com/diversions to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility and pay a $100 fee via credit
card. This TBI Certificate of Eligibility verifies an Offenders prior criminal history or its nonexistence.
1) Never had a disqualifying felony;
2) Never had a Class "A" Misdemeanor for which a sentence of confinement is served;
2) Never been previously granted Diversion; and
3) Never had the public records of a disqualifying criminal offense that was dismissed expunged
pursuant to chapter 32 of this title or TCA 40-35-313.
Criminal Offenses that aren't Diversion eligible:
1) Driving Under the Influence;
2) "A" or "B" Felonies;
3) Enumerated Sexual Offenses:
b) Rape of a Child
c) Sexual Exploitation of Minor, and other criminal offenses.
What Happens after being found Diversion Eligible?
Once an Offender comes back eligible, they are placed on Diversion for an appropriate period of time based on the criminal charge(s). The Offender is then assigned a Probation Officer who will oversee and work with them throughout the entire probationary period. It's imperative that Offenders follow instructions to ensure that all conditions of probation are met (i.e., pay fines, pay restitution, attend Theft Cessation Class, attend Anger Management, pay court costs, pay probation supervision fees, etc.). The probation conditions are unique to each case and Offender. At the end of the probationary period, the Offender must pay an Expungment Fee before the case is expunged.
The Diversion program is an excellent option and opportunity for first time Offender's. Due to the importance of Diversion and its ability to allow Offenders a second chance at having a successful life, I recommend it to all my Clients.
Caveat: This post does not reflect all conditions and requirements for Diversion. Please consult with a licensed Tennessee Attorney to review your Diversion eligibility and any other requirements.