Felony pretrial diversion will be used sparingly in Travis County for a group of offenders that meet certain eligibility criteria. Through this program an offender is given a chance to avoid prosecution for an offense through successful completion of a period during which there are no new arrests, and all requirements of the term are completed. Requirements may include attending counseling, making restitution, performing community service restitution and any other condition deemed appropriate by the Travis County District Attorney's Office.
Admission into the program rests in the sole control of the Travis County District Attorney's Office. Once the term is successfully completed, the offender may apply for an expunction of the arrest record and the Travis County District Attorney's Office will not contest the expunction. However, the Travis County District Attorney's Office cannot bind the Texas Department of Public Safety to this agreement.
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office will consider a defendant’s application for pretrial diversion for most non-violent felony offenses. The applicant should generally be a first offender and all prior contacts with law enforcement or the criminal justice system will be considered when evaluating a defendant’s application. The following non-exclusive list of factors will be considered for a defendant’s acceptance into the program:
- The nature and type of offense, as well as the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense, including any potential harm to the community by the defendant.
- The defendant’s criminal history and/or prior contacts with law enforcement, including juvenile offenses and all non-traffic offenses. Any prior conviction or deferred adjudication for any offense, other than minor traffic offenses, will significantly impact consideration for PTD.
- Defendant’s acceptance of responsibility for the underlying offense as articulated in his/her version of the offense in Section VII of the application.
- Defendant cannot test positive for any illegal drugs or non-prescribed controlled substances.
- Defendant’s substance abuse issues or other similar conditions that would best be monitored in a formal probation environment or participation in a specialty court supervised by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
A defendant and the attorney of record wishing to apply for acceptance into the pretrial diversion program shall complete an application. Once the application is complete, the attorney of record shall electronically submit the application and any supporting documents to TCDAPreTrial@traviscountytx.gov. The application will be reviewed and the defendant’s attorney will be notified regarding defendant’s acceptance into the program.
If the offender is accepted into the program, the offender will enter into a written agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the program. The offender must also sign a plea form pleading guilty to the offense and waiving certain constitutional and statutory rights. The terms and conditions will include a specific term of supervision, an agreement to plead guilty at a revocation proceeding, an agreement not to receive credit for fees or community service performed while in the diversion program if revoked and other conditions as recommended by the Travis County District Attorneys Office.
Once a defendant has been accepted into the program, the case will be transferred to the 147th Criminal District Court of Travis County for supervision. The defendant’s attorney must then contact the 147th court coordinator to obtain the initial docket setting for the pretrial diversion docket.
On the initial pretrial diversion docket setting, all involved parties will convene in person to sign the pretrial diversion agreement. The defendant will be expected to pay a $60 monthly supervision fee and will also be required to pay for any drug and alcohol counselling, restitution, required urinalysis or other programs or classes detailed in the agreement.
The typical term for the pretrial diversion program is one year from the time the defendant signs the agreement and enters the program.
The defendant will be expected to comply with the terms and conditions of the pretrial diversion program and timely meet all required obligations. If the offender fails to do so, his pretrial diversion program participation may be revoked. The decision to revoke the offender’s participation in the Travis County Felony Pretrial Diversion Program rests solely with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. If the decision to revoke is made, the case will remain docketed on the 147th regular docket for a plea to the offense charged.