What is the Juvenile Diversion Program?

3What is the Juvenile Diversion Program?

Just about every child has taken something that doesn’t belong to them. Whether it was a candy bar or something more valuable, theft is a crime that is punishable by law. Theft is likely the most common crime that children commit. When a child under the age of 18 commits a crime, he or she could be charged and, if convicted, could serve a sentence. However, parents need to know that there is a juvenile diversion program that may be available to youngsters as an alternative to criminal conviction.


What is the Juvenile Diversion Program?

The juvenile or youth diversion program is designed to provide an alternative to criminal punishment and record. A diversion plan is an agreement that is made between a juvenile and their parent or guardian and the juvenile court. A juvenile court counselor will provide details of the program if it is available to a youth who is charged with a crime in North Carolina. Diversion programs usually require the juvenile to perform a specific amount of community service hours in exchange for dropping the charges in a criminal case. The child will not be prosecuted as long as they complete the requirements of their diversion agreement.


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What is Included in a Juvenile Diversion Program?

The juvenile diversion program, also called the youth diversion program, is overseen by the criminal justice resource department in each particular jurisdiction. The program usually consists of a variety of requirements, such as community service, and may include mental health and/or substance programs. The parent or guardian and the juvenile may be required to attend a life skills course. The purpose of the diversion program is to address the issues of the juvenile in a way that will guide them and teach them to make better choices.



Who is Eligible for a Diversion Program?

In North Carolina, 16 and 17-year-olds may be prosecuted for crimes as adults. If convicted as an adult, the juvenile will have a criminal record that will follow them throughout adulthood. A juvenile may be eligible for the diversion program if they were 16 or 17 at the time of the offense and if the offense is a misdemeanor. The juvenile generally cannot have a prior adult misdemeanor conviction. However, they may still qualify if they have a previous juvenile record. A juvenile who is accused of a sexual offense, assault, or use of a firearm will not be eligible for the program. The counselor will make a recommendation to the court. The prosecutor and law enforcement have the final approval of the diversion program. You will want to check with your local jurisdiction to learn about eligibility for the program in your case.


Seek Legal Guidance

If your juvenile child has been charged with a misdemeanor crime, you will want to discuss the matter as soon as possible with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your child’s future may depend on how you handle the charges. Your lawyer will review the details of the case and will work with the prosecutor to find out whether your child is eligible to participate in the youth diversion program. To learn more about the juvenile diversion program, contact us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.






You cannot reason with the unreasonable. The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.



General Statute Sections – North Carolina General Assembly (ncleg.gov)

Youth Diversion – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (charlottenc.gov)


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