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The Allen American reported in April 2020 that Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis announced an enhanced second chance pretrial diversion program called "Burden to Blessing." The six- to 12-month probation program designed for young, non-violent offenders includes life and job skills training aimed at putting participants on a more successful path than the one that led to their arrest.

According to the American, the program funnels all diversion applicants into a substantial life skills experience called "Super Saturday," where they learn how to identify triggers and navigate life more intentionally. Participants further opt in to the "5-Night Rewrite," which is filled with intensive career building skills to help kickstart their career.  

‘Burden to Blessing’ for First Time Offenders in Collin County

Dozens of employers participate by hiring program participants and graduates. The Collin County district attorney instituted a diversion program when he first took office in 2011, but noticed that participants who lacked family and social support were less likely to succeed in the program.

Pretrial diversion programs can be beneficial for participants who abide by the rules and complete their terms without any issue. It is important to remember, however, that there are strict guidelines under which certain transgressions can lead to major consequences, including possible dismissal from the program with criminal charges reintroduced.

Keep in mind the case from last December in which KDFW-TV reported that a man who was facing felony charges for allegedly assaulting a woman appeared in court again because of a recent driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest in Collin County. The arrest violated the conditions a judge set when the man initially bonded out of jail in March, one condition of which was to not drink alcohol or use drugs.

A grand jury indicted the man on two felony charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawfully carrying a weapon as well as two misdemeanor charges of assault and obstruction of justice. The judge set additional conditions for the man’s bond release because of the DWI, including a requirement to blow into an alcohol monitoring device at home several times per day.

The man must also submit to random drug and alcohol testing and attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings each week. The man told the judge he’s been sober since the December arrest and is working with an AA sponsor.

AA meeting attendance is a very common requirement in many DWI cases, and attendance at AA meetings can also be recommended for many other alleged DWI offenders because courts typically take more favorable views towards those who have taken active steps to become and remain sober. People accused of DWI need to understand that an alleged offender who is actively attending AA meetings could be more likely to negotiation a reduction in or dismissal of criminal charges.

Help for First Time Offenders in Collin County

Anybody who has been arrested for a criminal offense for the first time in Collin County needs to understand the true nature of the charges that they are facing and what will need to be done. Prosecutors are seeking convictions and alleged offenders need to invest in having somebody who can defend them in court.

Marijuana arrests account for a significant number of arrests in Collin County, with many people being accused of possession although there are certain other major crimes that also occur in the county. It is not impossible for many other kinds of drug cases to also originate in Collin County.

Many people can also be arrested for their first DWI offense in Collin County. All DWIs are incredibly humiliating experiences for most alleged offenders, and it can be incredibly hard for people to take the initial steps to reach out for help but it is important for everybody to be proactive in investigating their criminal defense options in such cases.

First time offenses can include any one of the other major kinds of crimes in Texas. Some people may be arrested for the first time in an incident of family violence or domestic violence, some could be accused of sex crimes, and others could be facing white collar charges. Violent crimes, property crimes, and weapon or firearm crimes can also occur to first-time offenders.

All alleged offenders need to be aware of the difference between the Texas criminal process for state charges and the process for federal charges. Federal charges are a much more different kind of case that could also involve more significant penalties for an alleged offender.

Another common kind of crime for first-time offenders is the all-too-common traffic offense, which could be something more serious like reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, driving while license suspended, fleeing and eluding, or racing on a highway in some circumstances. You should fully explore your defense options even for common traffic tickets to help save yourself money later on.

Many alleged offenders are able to avoid devastating conviction consequences through either deferred adjudication or pre-trial diversion programs. In deferred adjudication, an alleged offender enters a plea of guilty but the court defers adjudication until the alleged offender satisfies the terms of a sentence of community supervision, while pre-trial diversion differs from county to county but has similar rules to deferred adjudication.

Plano Criminal Defense Attorney

Were you arrested for the first time in Plano, McKinney, Carrollton, or a surrounding area of Collin County in Texas recently? If you have never even considered contacting a criminal defense lawyer before now, then let The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy be the first phone call you make so our firm can quickly stand up to protect your rights and do everything necessary to earn your trust.

We will be committed to helping you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case and then will work to ensure that you face the fewest possible penalties. Call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to have our team take an exhaustive look at your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.

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