What does “diversion” mean?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What does “diversion” mean?

I got arrested for shoplifting. I went to court last month and the judge told me that I will be under diversion since it was my first time stealing. I will have to pay a fine, do community service and 1 year of probation. Can I travel to another country since I’m in probation? I would like to work as a teacher in 1 more year, after my next court day to turn in the things that the judge told me to do. But can I still work for the District? Since the police took my hand and fingerprints.

Asked on January 3, 2016 under Criminal Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In CA, a first-time offender who has been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor can qualify for the "pretrial diversion program". Basically, the person goes to court and pleads guilty to the charge. The court then sentences the offender to educational courses, paying a fine and being placed on probation. If they successfully complete the terms of their probation and stay out of trouble during that time, then their pleas is withdrawn and their case dismissed. In other words, the violation will be permanantly removed from their legal record as though the arrest never ocurred.
As for travel, consult the terms of your probation agreement. If there is no prohibition against it, you can travel to the next county or jsut about anywhere. Quite frankly, for an offense such as this travel is rarely restricted.
For further information, you should consult with a criminal law attorney; they can best advise you further. However, before you apply for a teaching job, you can check your criminal background record to see what, if anything, it says.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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