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 In The News
  Posted on: Monday, April 16, 2012
Washington County Expanding Diversion Program to Low-Level Misdemeanors
Some first-time misdemeanor offenders now have the option to have their charges dismissed under a new program offered by the Clark County Prosecutor's Office to save money. The defendants, charged with such low-level offenses as third-degree theft, furnishing alcohol to a minor and disorderly conduct, can enter a new diversion program, which dismisses charges in exchange for their staying out of trouble for a year, Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik said this week. The program is modeled after the diversion option for low-level felons, which has been available in Clark County for more than 25 years. Both options are geared toward defendants who are generally law-abiding and "made one mistake in life," the prosecutor said. "I see it as not a soft-on-crime approach, but a smart-on-crime approach," Golik said. After defendants' initial court appearance, their cases will be reviewed by a deputy prosecutor to see whether they qualify for the program. If they have a clean record and their case is nonviolent and not a DUI, they will be screened by a diversion counselor. The counselor will recommend treatment options, depending on the charge and their background. Upon successful completion, charges will be tossed out after a year. Each diversion candidate must pay $260. Taking into account the number of defendants eligible for the program so far, Golik estimates the bill to defendants will bring the county $130,000 per year. The prosecutor will use diversion counselors already assigned to felony cases, so there won't be a need for additional staff.
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