If you have been charged with a criminal offence, the only way to be sure your record remains completely clean is to obtain a Diversion. If you are found ‘not guilty’, and even if a Judge or Magistrate orders no conviction, Victoria police are still able to mention that non-conviction order on your record.
Created under section 59 of the Criminal Procedures Act 2009, the Diversion Program provides offenders with the opportunity to avoid any criminal record if the offender agrees to complete conditions intended to benefit the victim, themselves, and the community.
The Diversion Program is designed to prevent first time offenders, especially young people, who have made grievous mistakes from entering the criminal justice system or having their future prospects impacted by a criminal record.
There are three eligibility conditions that must be met to obtain a Diversion:
If police approve recommending a Diversion Order, they will provide a Diversion Notice and the court will adjourn your case for a Diversion Hearing.
On the day of your Diversion Hearing you will be required to complete a form and conduct an interview by the Diversion Coordinator, who will confirm you understand the Diversion process and evaluate whether you are eligible. How you act during this interview will have a significant impact on whether they approve your eligibility.
Your lawyer will thoroughly prepare you for this stage to ensure you provide suitable responses and do not jeopardise your chances of getting a Diversion.
Finally, during the Diversion Hearing, the Magistrate or Judicial Registrar will decide whether to grant a Diversion.
If you are successful, the Magistrate or Judicial Registrar will set conditions for your Diversion in the form of a Diversion Plan and set a date for your Diversion Plan to be reviewed. Your Diversion Plan will include a list of conditions which must be met.
These may include participating in programs specifically designed to address and make amends for your offending behaviours. This may include:
Along with any condition set out in your Diversion Plan, you must not be charged for an offence during the period of the Diversion Order. If you are charged with an offence, or fail to comply with the conditions of the Diversion Plan, you will be required to return to court and your chance at keeping your record clean will be lost.
Garde Wilson Lawyers takes every opportunity to prevent being charged with an offence having a lasting or damaging impact on your life. If we believe you are eligible for a Diversion Order, we do everything possible to maximise your chances of being successful.
There are some circumstances where Diversion Orders will not be available. These include:
Even if the Police and the Diversion Co-ordinator approve your eligibility for the Diversion Program, a Magistrate or Judicial Registrar may refuse to grant you a Diversion Order. You may appeal to refuse your Diversion to the County Court to be decided by a Judge. Your lawyer can advise you on the likelihood of a successful appeal and how to proceed.
Attempting to secure a Diversion Order without the help of a lawyer is very hard. It requires conducting negotiations with police and prosecution, and presenting a compelling case to the court for why you should be placed in the Diversion Program.
Garde Wilson Lawyers has extensive experience assisting clients obtain a Diversion and keep a clean record.
Failing to get a Diversion Order means that even if you are found not guilty, your record may be tarnished. If you are found guilty it can result in a conviction being recorded, impacting your ability to travel and potentially limiting your employability.
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