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Diversion Programs for Michigan Criminal Offenses

By Daniel T. Geherin

For every person charged with a crime in Ann Arbor or throughout Michigan, the consequences of a conviction can be life-altering.  Convictions can result in loss of employment or inability to find a job; financial ruin; family/custody/relationship upheaval; and—of course—loss of freedom.  For clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses, there is often a desperate need to avoid conviction. If you find yourself charged with a crime in Michigan, you want to know your options. Dan Geherin is a top felony defense attorney in Ann Arbor and has worked tirelessly to secure positive outcomes for countless cases.

How can a criminal conviction be avoided?  3 ways:  One, by litigation (i.e., trial/motions etc.); Two, by dismissal; or Three, by a diversion program of some sort.

What types of diversion programs exist for criminal charges in Michigan?

Consent Calendar:  For juvenile offenders (currently under age 17), certain offenses qualify for a diversion in which the minor is neither fingerprinted nor officially “adjudicated,” and instead he/she is offered a chance to prove the charge should not proceed.  If the minor complies, there is no formal finding of responsibility and no adjudication/conviction. 

H.Y.T.A.:  An age-based diversion program (officially known as the “Holmes Youthful Trainee Act”) for adults 17-23 who plead guilty to certain offenses (currently, traffic and motor vehicle code offenses such as drunk driving do not qualify) and have their cases shielded from public view and ultimately dismissed upon successful completion of probation. 

MCL 333.7411:  A drug possession diversion program for first-offender possession cases. 

MCL 769.4a:  A diversion program for domestic violence cases (alternatively known as the “Spousal Abuse Act”), which notably requires the consent of the prosecutor. 

Prosecutor Diversion/Delayed Sentence Programs:  Many city/township and state prosecutor’s offices have their own built-in programs in which they will consider a charge “Under Advisement” or will delay sentencing upon successful compliance with conditions of bond or probation. 

Many of these diversion programs have qualifying and disqualifying factors and are often offered at the discretion of a sentencing judge.  It is imperative that people consult with their attorney to see what, if any, diversion program might be available in their particular case.  It is equally imperative that attorneys are well-versed in these programs to know when a client qualifies and what safeguards to put into place to make sure a client doesn’t miss out on a program (or worse, pleads to an offense thinking he or she is eligible when not). 

Notably, most traffic offenses—including OWI/DUI—do not qualify for any diversion programs.  Likewise, capital offenses (life-maximum offenses) and serious/violent felonies do not have any available diversion prospects.  It’s also worth noting that these programs are often accompanied by heavy probationary requirements (including jail in some instances) and carry enormous negative consequences if violated.  That said, they often give people an option of avoiding a conviction on their record, and that can be of great future benefit. 

Have you recently been charged with a crime? Are you looking for options? Do you need a felony defense attorney in Ann Arbor? Geherin Law Group, PLLC (“GLGMichigan”) has defended thousands of criminal cases in Ann Arbor and throughout Southeastern Michigan.  Firm founder Daniel T. Geherin is a former prosecutor and board-certified criminal trial attorney who has been practicing law for 25+ years. He has been rated by Martindale-Hubbell as AV-Preeminent; listed in The Best Lawyers in America; named by Super Lawyers Magazine in the field of Criminal Defense; recognized as a “Top Lawyer” by Detroit Business Magazine; and scored 10/10 “superb” by  He also has received 150+ 5-star client reviews. 

Every day, Dan and his team offer personal OPTIONS to each client they represent, including the option of proceeding to litigation, or trying to secure a favorable diversion program.  Dan has personally helped over 2,000 clients, many of whom have taken advantage of a diversion program that Dan has helped secure with prosecutors/judges/probation agents.

If a loved one or you has been charged with a crime in Washtenaw County or Southeastern Michigan, and you want to discuss options on how to avoid a conviction, please call or email our felony defense attorney in Ann Arbor 24/7 at (734) 263-2780 or online