1. Find out if you're eligible for diversion

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Criminal Law - Going to criminal court

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What is diversion?
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1. Find out if you're eligible for diversion

If possible, before your first date in court, a Crown will review your case and decide whether it's appropriate for diversion. The Crown can offer you diversion at any time during the court process. You usually find out if you have been approved for diversion at your first court appearance.

If the Crown hasn't offered you diversion, you or your lawyer can try to convince the Crown that you should be.

Factors involved

The Crown makes their decision to offer diversion based on:

  • whether you have a criminal record
  • the seriousness of the charges (such as the amount of damage done or the type of injuries caused)
  • the cost of prosecuting you compared to the seriousness of the offence
  • the impact a conviction would have on you compared to society's interest in punishing criminal behaviour
  • the complainant's thoughts about whether you should have diversion

The Crown most often offers diversion in cases like:

  • theft under $5,000
  • mischief under $5,000
  • possession of small amounts of marijuana and some other drugs
  • minor assaults
  • crimes that don't involve serious violence or losses of large amounts of money
Reviewed: November 20, 2017

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