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Navigating Diversion Offers in Criminal Cases: Why you Need a Lawyer


It's not uncommon for attorneys to receive calls from individuals seeking help to withdraw from agreements they've entered into with the state. Often, these individuals have attempted to resolve their legal matters without a lawyer, only to regret it later. The complexity of withdrawing from such agreements can escalate quickly, sometimes necessitating the involvement of an appellate lawyer. Prevailing on appeals is generally more challenging than at the pre-conviction stage. Therefore, it's always advisable for anyone facing a criminal case to consult with an attorney as early as possible. This is particularly true in cases where diversion is offered, a situation that might seem straightforward but often isn't. In many misdemeanor cases, defendants are often presented with diversion offers by the state. While these offers can seem like a straightforward path to resolving legal issues, they may overlook critical nuances and potential opportunities for a more favorable outcome. This blog post, drawing from a recent case at The Law Office of Joel Chorny, explores the importance of consulting with an attorney and provides insight into what diversion really means.

Understanding Diversion:

Diversion is essentially a contract between the defendant and the prosecuting agency. Under this arrangement, the defendant admits guilt, and in exchange, the prosecutor agrees to place the defendant on diversion with specific conditions to be met within a set period. These conditions often include counseling, rehabilitation classes, drug monitoring, and more. If the defendant fulfills these conditions, the case is dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled, and there will be no conviction on the defendant's record. However, if the defendant fails to meet the conditions, the admission of guilt stands. It's important to note that diversion programs are entirely controlled by the prosecuting agency, unlike probation, which is under the court's purview. This control can significantly impact the defendant's options and outcomes.

Recent Case Study:

In a recent domestic violence case handled by The Law Office of Joel Chorny, a client wisely chose to consult with the firm before her first court date. As expected, during the first hearing, the state offered the client diversion. Many unrepresented defendants accept such offers without second thought, aiming to save on legal fees. However, after detailed discussions with the firm, the client decided to explore other options.

The Turning Point:

At the subsequent hearing, when the firm informed the prosecutor of the intention to set the matter for trial, it prompted a more thorough review of the case. The prosecutor initially suggested an alternative diversion program (mental health court diversion), but the decision to go to trial remained firm. This led the prosecutor to delve deeper into the victim's stance, revealing that the victim had invoked his right to remain silent and was actively seeking to have the case dismissed.

The Outcome:

This revelation was pivotal. Had the client accepted the initial diversion offer, she would have missed the opportunity for a potentially more favorable resolution. The strategic navigation of the case by The Law Office of Joel Chorny led to the prosecutor moving to dismiss the charges entirely, a far more advantageous outcome than the original diversion offer.

The Lesson:

This case underscores the importance of legal consultation. Without professional guidance, defendants may accept offers without fully understanding their rights or the possible outcomes. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable insights, ensuring that all options are considered and the best possible course of action is taken.


The decision to consult with an attorney should never be underestimated, especially in legal matters where the stakes are high. Even when an offer from the state seems favorable, it's crucial to understand all the implications and explore every possible avenue. As illustrated in the case study, early legal consultation can significantly alter the course of a case, often leading to outcomes far more favorable than initially anticipated.

Call to Action:

For those in similar situations, reaching out to The Law Office of Joel Chorny is a wise step. With their expertise and commitment to clients' best interests, they ensure that rights are protected and informed decisions are made.

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