Diversion is a method of dealing with juveniles who are charged with a minor criminal offense or infraction.
A juvenile in Diversion does not go to court and there is no trial before a judge. The juvenile and parents meet with the Neighborhood Accountability Board supervised by a Probation Counselor. The juvenile is not placed on probation.
The juvenile signs a Diversion Agreement which is a contract between the juvenile and the Diversion Unit. A Diversion Agreement is not a conviction; the record is not available to the public. Diversion Records can be both sealed and destroyed.
The Diversion Agreement may require the juvenile to complete one or more of the following conditions:
- Attend counseling/education classes
- Perform community service
- Pay restitution and fines
- Attend school and observe home curfews
There are currently over 40 volunteers for the Neighborhood Accountability Boards who dedicate a total of nearly 3000 hours each year to meet with and monitor diversion youth.
Juvenile Court Diversion (509) 477-2441
What are the advantages of Diversion to the community?
Local problems can often be addressed by utilizing local volunteers who represent the community’s best interest. Such would be the case in utilizing Diversion as a means to address local or community problems. Diversion is a considerably less expensive process than that of formal court processing. The Diversion Program interfaces directly with community service organizations, counseling services, the schools, law enforcement, the juveniles themselves, and their families. This provides a community response and ownership to juvenile crime. Simply stated, Diversion allows the community to assume responsibility for its juvenile crime problems and makes the youth accountable to the community for her/his behavior.
What are the advantages of Diversion to the juvenile?
The Diversion process is confidential and private, unlike Court proceedings which are public. The Diversion Program is also more convenient and less time-consuming than the formal court process. While the Diversion Program normally conducts its meetings in the evening or at a time that is convenient to the youth and his/her family it is important to note that a Diversion Agreement cannot require a juvenile to serve time in detention (jail).
What happens if a juvenile fails to complete his/her Diversion Agreement?
If a youth does not follow the requirements of his/her Diversion Agreement, the case will be referred to the Prosecuting Attorney for review, and a formal Court hearing called a Diversion Termination hearing may occur. If the court determines that the youth failed to complete his/her Diversion Agreement, the case will proceed to arraignment and will be handled like other Juvenile Court cases. If the youth does not appear at the court hearing, the court may order that he/she be arrested.
Is the Department of Licensing (DOL) required to be notified when you sign a Diversion Agreement?
Alcohol & Drug Offense Related License Revocation Policies
The Diversion Program is required by law to notify the Department of Licensing (DOL) when you sign a diversion agreement for violation of laws relating to alcohol or other drugs. Notification will be provided within 24 hours of the signing of the agreement. The DOL, upon notification, will advise you by mail of a revocation date.
Display or possession of a revoked or suspended license is a traffic infraction in Washington State.
The DOL will also send a letter explaining their procedures and the steps you must take to have your driving privileges reinstated.
Early Reinstatement requirements
- Diversion will notify the DOL when you complete your diversion agreement and, in cases of early reinstatement, the DOL will send notification to you when you are eligible to reinstate your driving privilege.
- 45 days must elapse from the date you sign the Diversion Agreement to the start of your revocation period. You will be notified by the DOL exactly what day you must stop driving.
- On a first offense the DOL will reinstate your driving privileges no earlier than 90 days from the date you sign a diversion agreement or 90 days after you reach 16 years of age (whichever is longer).
- On a second offense the DOL will reinstate your driving privileges no earlier than one year from the date you sign a diversion agreement or age 17 (whichever is longer).
- Failing to complete or turn in verification of completion of your diversion agreement conditions will delay reinstatement. Successfully completing your agreement by due dates will make you eligible for early reinstatement.
Additional drug/alcohol charges
Revocation periods for each new offense are applied consecutively. The revocation period for a second or subsequent drug/alcohol offense will not begin until the revocation period for the previous offense(s) has expired.
- Your driving privilege is revoked for one year or until age seventeen, whichever is longer, for a first violation and for two years or until age eighteen, whichever is longer, for a second or subsequent violation(s). The DOL will reinstate your privilege earlier if they receive notice from the Diversion program that you have completed all conditions of your diversion agreement and if suspension or revocation action has not been taken against you for other reasons.
- A juvenile who is convicted of driving while their license is revoked pursuant to this law is subject to an additional 1 year revocation - in addition to other consequences.
- If you have questions about DOL procedures, call (360) 902-3900 in Olympia, or write to the above address. Please include your full name and date of birth in the letter.
- Download DOL License Revocation Information Policy Sheet