Costco Loss Prevention Officers observed the Defendant remove a DVD player from its packaging and place it into her purse. The Defendant passed all points of sale and attempted to leave the store without purchasing the item. Loss Prevention Officers contacted Police and pressed Petit Theft charges against the Defendant.
Misdemeanor Diversion Program
The Florida Department of Corrections operates the Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) in Florida. Misdemeanor offenders who qualify for this program are offered this in exchange for criminal prosecution. Offenses that are usually eligible for the MDP include possession of marijuana, loitering, petit theft, trespassing, prowling, and disorderly intoxication. Those offenses that do not qualify include battery and assault charges. Offenders will have the opportunity within this program to accept their wrongdoing immediately and seek rehabilitation. A contract will first need to be signed that states any rights to a fast trial will be waived. Under this contract, they will agree to follow specific sanctions and requirements. Depending upon the severity of the crime committed, the program can last from six to twelve months. Once the program has been successfully completed, the offender can have their record expunged.
Requirements for the Misdemeanor Diversion Program
The following requirements must be met for the Misdemeanor Diversion Program:
- Program fees paid for by the offender
- A payment of $50 (cost of prosecution fee)
- Accept the MDP within 30 days of arraignment or else participant will not be allowed into the program
- Never been arrested before (even if your case was dropped, an arrest is an automatic strike against you)
Program fees will vary based on how long the offender will be in the program. An individual with 6 months will pay $360, while a person who attends 9 months will pay $560. Those who attend the program for a full year will be required to pay $720.
Sanctions Included in the Misdemeanor Diversion Program
As stated above, there is a list of sanctions that need to be met in order to follow the contract signed. These sanctions include, but are not limited to:
- Any restitution payments to the victims if applicable
- AA or NA classes if deemed necessary
- Monthly/regular contact with a criminal justice officer
- Minimum of 32 hours community service, with insurance fee paid for by the offender
- Random drug and alcohol testing at the offender’s expense
- Educational classes, such as Life Skills, HIV awareness, anger management, parenting skills, retail theft, batterer’s intervention program
- An alcohol and substance abuse class that is paid for by the participant
- Payment of any investigation fees
- Psychological or Psychiatric evaluations with treatment advised, paid for by the participant
RESULT: The Defendant retained Musca Law to defend the charges against her. The Defense attorney arranged for the Client to avoid the Court system by participating in a Misdemeanor Diversion Program. The State DROPPED all the charges against the Client. The Client is now eligible to have her record expunged.