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Fairfax diversion pilot program- Virginia criminal lawyer weighs in

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Fairfax diversion pilot program is announced- Virginia criminal lawyer addresses its applicability to your court case

Fairfax diversion is a pilot program called Taking Root, that was announced in April 2022 by county commonwealth’s attorney Steve Descano, with this news release. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I have sought but not found many details about this program outside the foregoing news release.  It is unclear what Taking Root does to add to the benefits available under the Virginia Code § 19.2-298.02 statute that provides for a dismissal after successful completion of mutually agreed conditions for obtaining such a disposition. Perhaps the chief county prosecutor is saying that but for this program, the prosecutors in this county would not otherwise offer a Section § 19.2-298.02 dismissal.

Restorative justice options needs to be made more common in the Virginia criminal courts

The Virginia courts are clogged with criminal and civil cases, particularly with the backlog caused after the shutdown and gradual reopening of the courtrooms after the Covid pandemic hit. Now more than ever before is an ideal time for restorative justice options to be made more common in the Virginia courts and beyond. The Fairfax diversion pilot program teams with the Offender Aid Restoration program, which has been called a restorative justice organization. Regardless of whether the approach is called restorative justice, diversion, or anything else, obsolete should be the old way of trying to churn criminal defendants through the court system like numbers rather than as human beings who are both fallible and subject to rehabilitation (in the extent they committed the alleged crime),

The Fairfax diversion pilot program only applies to three dozen defendants

The Fairfax diversion pilot program apparently only applies initially to three dozen defendants for a short time period. Consequently, with this county having one of Virginia’s busiest criminal dockets, this three dozen number is very small. Therefore, the significance of this Taking Root program is more in seeing whether it gets expanded timewise and with the number of criminal defendants admitted into the program, and in the opportunity this program gives to Fairfax criminal lawyers to persuade the prosecutors to reach a more favorable case settlement that otherwise, even if the program is not entered.

What types of cases does the pilot program address? How do I proceed to defend myself against Fairfax criminal charges?

Based on an interview with the chief county prosecutor, local news reports that the Taking Root program is for theft and other less serious crimes, and not for violent crimes. If you are charged with a crime and want to know more about the Fairfax diversion pilot program and, more importantly, your possible case defenses and how to assert them, call highly-rated Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz, pursuing your best defense against Virginia DUI and criminal prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 for your free initial in-person consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.