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Have you been arrested and charged with a criminal offence? Are you a minor or a young adult? Scared that you have made a mistake that will haunt you for the rest of your life?
You may have reason to feel optimistic!
At Bailey Haynes Inc, we are prepared to fight for you to be given a second chance and an opportunity to be rehabilitated rather than stuck with a criminal record, fine and possible imprisonment.
Diversion is a lifeline granted to young, first time offenders who have broken the law. It is an opportunity for restorative justice that allows young offenders the chance to avoid a criminal record and possible jail time for their transgressions by admitting guilt and agreeing to a rehabilitation program. This rehabilitation program may include counselling and some form of community service wherein you are able to atone for your behaviour by actively giving back to the community.
This process is assisted by NICRO (National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders) which aims to rehabilitate young law breakers and prevent them from making similar mistakes in the future.
Once arrested and charged with a crime, the young offender will be given the opportunity to obtain legal representation. At your first appearance, your attorney should make written representations to the Prosecutor of that court in order to convince them that you are a suitable candidate for diversion based on factors that may include- the severity of your offence, your age, and motivation for why it is in the interests of justice that you be diverted away from the formal legal process.
Diversion will not be available to everyone and the decision by the Prosecutor will be subject to the type of offence committed and the circumstances of the offender.
You will be required to undergo an assessment which will take place before the trial so that the courts are satisfied that you are able to be rehabilitated.
At your first court appearance, the Magistrate will postpone your matter to a later date in order for you to complete the necessary assessment, rehabilitation program and possible community service. At the next appearance, should the Magistrate be satisfied that you have successfully been rehabilitated, the charges against you will be withdrawn.
Diversion is a once off life-line and cannot be relied on should you be charged with similar offences in the future. The benefits of such a program are obvious. Young offenders will be spared from a lifetime of regret at having gotten a criminal record which will hamper your chances at future employment. The offender will be spared possible jail time and may even be able to turn their life around through completing the necessary rehabilitation programs, allowing them to become responsible adults and contributing members to society.
Contact our attorneys in Cape Town, for expert legal advice and all matters relating to criminal law.
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