Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel believes that if we are to reduce crime in a community it is incumbent upon prosecutors to look at an offender and not just the offense. For many crimes, if an underlying substance use disorder or mental health condition can be addressed, the person will not re-offend again.
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Diversion Programs offer an alternative to traditional case processing so certain individuals accused of committing a crime may participate in community-based education or treatment program that addresses behavioral change, so the individual may become a productive citizen. The Deputy County Attorney carefully evaluates cases for offense eligibility and offender suitability for each diversion program. Ultimately, reducing recidivism while preserving limited prosecutorial resources is the primary goal of diversion.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 11-361 et seq., the County Attorney has sole discretion to divert or defer the prosecution of a person accused of committing a crime to an authorized diversion program. The County Attorney has authorized the following diversion programs:
Animal Cruelty Diversion
The program began in 2019 and is available to those eligible individuals charged with specific felony or misdemeanor charges related to abusing or neglecting an animal. Based upon an assessment and individual needs, the participant will be placed in an education class and/or group and/or individual counseling sessions. The education class covers minimum standards of care, knowledge of companion animals’ basic needs, and explores perspectives and ways to build empathy. Group and individual counseling sessions address accountability and factors that motivated the abuse or neglect, including attitudes, beliefs, and other risk factors or co-occurring issues. Participants who successfully complete the program can have filed charges dismissed to avoid a conviction. To learn more about this program, download information about Animal Cruelty Diversion.
Check Enforcement Program
The program began in the late 1980’s as a free service to individuals and businesses who are the recipients of checks not honored at a bank due to insufficient funds or a closed account. To learn more about this program, download information about the Check Enforcement Program.
Felony Diversion Program
Launched in May 2020, the Felony Diversion Program is an education and treatment program for individuals charged with crimes involving specific felony offenses, including the possession of controlled substances and meeting other eligibility criteria. This program combines what was formerly known as the Drug Diversion Program and Felony Pretrial Intervention Program (FPIP). Along with other prescribed eligibility criteria, individuals must have a minimal criminal history. After an assessment determining risk to reoffend and criminogenic needs, the individual will be placed in a treatment track with specific requirements for successful completion. Services may include: cognitive behavioral group counseling, individual counseling, case management, and drug testing. Treatment is individualized based upon the assessment. Participants who successfully complete the program can have filed charges dismissed to avoid a felony conviction.To learn more about this program, download information about the Felony Diversion Program.
Justice Court Diversion
The program began in 2008 as an education program for individuals meeting certain eligibility criteria and charged with specific misdemeanor offenses. Based upon the offense, participants attend one or two education class(es) through a contracted vendor within 60 days. These classes provide education about the law, help the participant gain insight into their behavior, and provide accountability for their criminal behavior. Participants who successfully complete the program can have filed charges dismissed with prejudice to avoid a misdemeanor conviction.To learn more about this program, download information about Justice Court Diversion.
The Maricopa County Juvenile Program Department administers juvenile diversion programs. Juveniles are generally eligible for pre-file diversion upon their first and second misdemeanor offenses and first-time drug offenses. Juveniles and the parent or guardian meet with a Juvenile Probation Officer to review diversion options. If the juvenile accepts diversion and admits their guilt in the charges, they will be assigned to complete a consequence(s) by a due date. Successful completion of the consequence will result in the charges being adjusted and not filed in court.
Parenting Skills Diversion
The program began in 2002 for adults who care for children in a parent or guardian role and are suspected of using excessive child discipline. The program is only available as a felony pre-file charging alternative. Participants are assessed and an individualized treatment plan is established. Participants attend a series of group counseling sessions teaching parental self- control, remaining calm, and how to build good family relationships. Additionally, group sessions offer role playing opportunities in skill development by educating and learning how to correct misbehavior. Participants who successfully complete the parenting program can avoid criminal charges being filed against them.To learn more about this program, download information about the Parenting Skills Diversion.
Serious Mental Illness – Felony Diversion Program (SMI-FDP Diversion)
Started in 2019, SMI-FDP Diversion is a cognitive-behavioral treatment program for eligible adults charged with lower level felony offenses, have minimal criminal histories, and who must have an SMI designation. Participants are assessed and an individualized treatment plan is developed. Participants complete required group counseling sessions, including cognitive behavioral and role-playing therapies to practice newly taught skills to avoid future criminal situations. Participants are also provided with supportive services: reconnection to their AHCCCS Clinical Team, life skills training, and coordination with physical care and housing assistance. The program is available as a post-charging alternative. Participants who successfully complete the program can have filed charges dismissed to avoid a felony conviction.To learn more about this program, download information about SMI-FDP Diversion.
Tobacco Education Program
A focused justice court diversion program offered through the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office for those individuals and businesses cited for furnishing tobacco to a minor. Participants attend a one time, 3-hour education class focusing on: the law and how to comply with the law, how to avoid fines, and the consequences of selling tobacco to minors. Participants who successfully complete the program can have filed charges dismissed with prejudice to avoid a misdemeanor conviction.To learn more about this program, download information about the Tobacco Education Program.
For more information on the Maricopa County Diversion Programs, please contact the Maricopa County Diversion Program Bureau at: 602-372-7300
Become a Diversion Vendor
If you are an interested vendor and would like to receive notifications on upcoming requests for proposals, please visit the Diversion Request for Proposal (RFP) section of the website.