Connecticut Diversionary Programs
There are various “diversionary programs” available to those charged with criminal offenses in the State of Connecticut. The types of programs available for those who find themselves charged with a crime vary depending on the offenses charged. The successful completion of a diversionary program can lead to a dismissal of the case. It can also result in the disposal of the charges without a conviction or even record of your arrest. To find out if there is a diversionary program available in your case, it is best to speak with an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
CONNECTICUT CRIMINAL DEFENSE DIVERSIONARY PROGRAMS
The most commonly used programs in the State of Connecticut are the Alcohol Education Program (“AEP”), Pretrial Accelerated Rehabilitation Program (“AR”), the Drug Education Program (“DEP”) and the Family Violence Education Program (“FVEP”). Although there are other programs available to individuals charged with a crime, and it is best to discuss what might be available to you with your criminal defense attorney.
Typically, the use of a diversionary program is initiated by making an application to the court. The application process is a multi-step process that involves a minimum of two court appearances. This is not always a straight-forward process and can be complicated based on the facts of the case and the position taken by the prosecutor. In most cases, the prosecutor can take one of three positions regarding an application to a program: objection, no objection, or no position.
In order to grant a program, the applicant must meet certain requirements for eligibility and the court must make specific findings. The requirements for the most common programs are as follows.
PRETRIAL accelerated REHABILITION PROGRAM IN CONNECTICUT
“A.R.” is a diversionary program for defendants who are charged with “a crime or crimes or a motor vehicle violation or violations for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed.” It is a program for first offenders and only available where the defendant has not been convicted of any crime in Connecticut or any other State and has not been convicted of:
- Forging a Certificate of Title – §14-196;
- Operating under Suspension for Alcohol – §14-215(c);
- Negligent Homicide with a Motor Vehicle – §14-222a;
- Evading – §14-224(a); or,
- Driving under the Influence – §14-227a
A.R. may only be used once in a ten-year period and only by defendants with no prior criminal convictions. Since A.R. is not available to a person who has been convicted of a “crime,” it is important to ascertain what constitutes a crime for purposes of this statute. Pursuant to § 53a-24, the term “crime” comprises felonies and misdemeanors only; it does not include infractions, violations, or motor vehicle violations. To determine if you may be eligible for A.R., it is best to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
CONNECTICUT’S Alcohol Education Program C.G.S. §54-56e
The alcohol education program, commonly referred to as AEP, is for individuals charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence. It allows for an eligible person to have the charges dismissed if they successfully comply with the program’s requirements. In order to be eligible for the AEP, the defendant must meet the following conditions outlined in C.G.S § 54-56g:
- The defendant must be charged with either:
- 14-227a – Operating under the Influence (BAC >.08), or
- 14-227g – Operating under the influence (person under 21 years of age with BAC > .02)
- The defendant cannot have used the AEP within the last 10 years.
- Note: – if the defendant is charged with OUI while he is under 21 (§14-227g), then he can never have had the AEP previously invoked in his behalf for §14-227a or §14-227g.
- The defendant is NOT eligible for AEP if he has a prior conviction (in CT or out of state) for:
- Manslaughter in the 2nd degree with a Motor Vehicle – §53a-56b;
- Assault in the 2nd degree with a Motor Vehicle – §53a-60d; or
- Operating Under the Influence – §14-227a
Unless good cause is shown, a defendant is ineligible for the AEP if the incident caused serious physical injury to another person. The defendant must agree to the tolling of the statute of limitations and waive his right to a speedy trial. A defendant is NOT eligible for AEP if they are (1) operating a commercial motor vehicle, or (2) hold a CDL (or CDL learner’s permit). Your Connecticut criminal defense attorney for DUIs will help you determine whether you are eligible for AEP. If you are not eligible for AEP, then your attorney will hope you determine the next best alternative.
CONNECTICUT’S PRETRIAL DRUG EDUCATION PROGRAM
In order to be eligible for the Pretrial Drug Education Program, or DEP, the defendant must be charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Individuals charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute may not be eligible for the DEP. In addition, a person is not eligible for the DEP if they have twice previously participated in:
- the former DEP (pretrial drug education program),
- the former CSLP (community service labor program),
- the current Drug Education program, or
- any combination of two such programs.
- Exception – the court may allow a person who has twice previously participated in such programs to participate in the Pretrial Drug Education and Community Service Program one additional time, if good cause is shown.
In order to successfully complete the Pretrial Drug Education and Community Service Program, the defendant must:
- For a first-time referral: participate in a 15-week drug education program, and a community service program for five days;
- For a second-time referral: participate in either a 15-week drug education program or a substance abuse treatment program of not less than 15 sessions, as ordered by the court based on the evaluation, and a community service program for 15 days;
- For a third-time referral: be referred to a state-licensed substance abuse program for evaluation and participation in a course of treatment as ordered by the court based on the evaluation, and a community service program for 30 days.
To determine if you may be eligible for the Drug Education Program contact a Connecticut criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
CONNECTICUT ATTORNEYS FOR THE FAMILY VIOLENCE EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Family Violence Education Program is a program for a person charged with domestic violence crimes. This program is not available to those individuals with prior domestic violence convictions, prior use of the FVEP, or charged with an A,B, C or unclassified felony carrying a sentence of 10 years or more. If a defendant is charged with a D felony or an unclassified felony carrying a sentence of less than 10 years and more than 5 years, this program may be available if the court makes a finding of good cause. The FVEP statute (46b-36c(g)) does not specify what requirements a defendant must fulfill in order to successfully complete the program. However, the court in conjunction with the Family Services Unit will likely impose certain conditions that must be met in order for the charges to be dismissed. These conditions may include:
- attend class sessions. No unexcused absences are tolerated.
- cooperate with class session requirements; including class participation and assignments.
- not engage in any disruptive behavior or substance abuse.
- not have any incidence of continued violence.
- In addition, the court or the Family Services Unit may also impose other conditions that the defendant must comply with such as:
- obtain a substance abuse evaluation or treatment,
- obtain a psychiatric/psychological evaluation or treatment,
- comply with any DCF recommendations,
- comply with any protective/restraining order imposed, etc.
Cases involving charges of Domestic Violence carry further complicating factors such as protective orders and specific conditions of release. To properly assess your case and your eligibility for the FVEP, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to your first court appearance.
Call the criminal defense attorneys at Aeton Law Partners for a consultation: 860.724.2160.