The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio (USAO) established a Pretrial Diversion Program as an alternative to federal criminal prosecution. Although the program is not favored within the USAO, it will be considered from time to time as a serious alternative to incarceration. Through the program, certain offenders will have the opportunity to avoid criminal charges by voluntarily entering a program of supervision and services administered by the U.S. Pretrial Service Office. Participants will be expected to submit to a set of conditions during a 12- to 18-month probationary period. These conditions may include not getting into any further legal trouble, alcohol and/or psychiatric treatment, community service, and restitution.
There are a number of circumstances that may disqualify a potential candidate from entering the USAO’s diversion program. In addition, before entering into the program, the candidate must accept full responsibility for the illegal acts and fill out a number of forms. The candidates will agree to the filing of an Information which will be filed under seal and remain in effect during the probationary period. Candidates will also enter a plea in open court. However, the Court will not accept the guilty plea unless the candidate fails to fulfill their obligations during the diversion period.
Targets and subjects of investigations do not have a right to pretrial diversion. The pretrial diversion program will owe its existence and operation in the Southern District of Ohio solely to prosecutorial discretion.
Frequently asked questions concerning the USAO’s Pretrial Diversion Program: