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Since 1978, the Advocate Program has worked in cooperation with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office to provide Pretrial Diversion programs for those charged with felonies and misdemeanors. In addition, the Advocate Program supervises those placed on probation for criminal or traffic offenses, monitoring their attendance and progress in educational classes and/or groups, as well as their compliance with all other conditions as set forth by the sentencing judge.
Felony Pretrial Diversion
Felony pretrial diversion cases are referred by the State Attorney’s Office through Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Pretrial Services Division. These cases may include special conditions, such as the Firearm Intervention Program. Defendants are required to attend groups and/or classes. Often, felony pretrial diversion cases require payment of restitution. This is researched, collected and distributed by the Advocate Program. If all conditions are met and the client remains arrest-free during his participation in the Program, the State Attorney’s Office will drop its charge(s) against them and they may be eligible to have the arrest record sealed and/or expunged.
Juvenile Services Programs
The Advocate Program offers programs dedicated to the diversion of first-time juvenile offenders, as well as those who may already have an established record of offenses. Referrals to the Program may be made by the Juvenile Alternative Sanctions System, the Department of Children and Families, the Public Defender’s Office, the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Miami-Dade Juvenile Court. The Program also accepts juveniles into life skills groups on a voluntary basis.
Misdemeanor Pretrial Diversion
In order to fulfill the requirements of the Advocate Program’s misdemeanor pretrial diversion program, referred clients are screened for risk and need and provided with classes or referrals that are determined to be the most effective. The length of the diversion program is between 3–6 months, depending on the seriousness of the charge and the client’s criminal history. During this time, if the client completes all conditions and remains arrest-free during his participation in the Program, the State Attorney’s Office will drop the pending charges against them and they may be eligible to have the arrest record sealed and/or expunged.
Individuals determined to be guilty of a criminal or traffic offense and sentenced to probation are placed under the supervision of the Advocate Program. Probationers are required to comply with general conditions which may include participation in educational classes or groups offered by the Program, as well as any special conditions imposed by the sentencing judge. The Advocate Program monitors the probationer’s compliance and notifies the Court of any possible violations of probation.
In an effort to improve public safety and respond to the growing epidemic of unlicensed drivers in Miami-Dade County, the State Attorney’s Office approved the implementation of pretrial diversion for criminal traffic cases. Those charged with a DUI, Reckless Driving, or have a case involving an accident or injuries are not eligible. Those referred into the program will be required to complete a course designed to prevent future arrests. A major component of this program is to increase the number of licensed drivers in the community. As such the program works in partnership with the Court’s Drive Legal Program to facilitate the license reinstatement of those drivers charged with Driving While License Suspended or No Valid Driver License. The State Attorney’s Office will drop the pending charges against those that complete all program conditions and they may be eligible to have the arrest record sealed and/or expunged.
Back on Track Program
Back on Track or BOT is a safe driving initiative of the Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney. Under this program, eligible first time Driving under the Influence (DUI) offenders completing the program will have an opportunity to receive a withhold of adjudication on a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. Eligibility is determined by the State Attorney’s Office and based on the client’s criminal history, driving history, and circumstances surrounding the DUI arrest. There are two tiers available for this program; Tier 1 for those offenders who have a breath/blood alcohol level under .15 at the time of the DUI arrest, and Tier 2 for those offenders who refuse a breath, blood or urine test or have a breath/blood alcohol level of .15 or higher. The costs and conditions of the program vary depending on the Tier. Click here for more detailed information.
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