Avoiding an Arrest
In Hillsborough County, certain first-time misdemeanor offenders can avoid an arrest and judicial record entirely. In 2018, local law enforcement agencies, the State Attorney’s Office, and the Office of the Public Defender agreed to procedures for an Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program.
Adults are disqualified from eligibility for the program if:
- They have a prior misdemeanor or felony conviction (withhold of adjudication will disqualify)
- They have participated in APAD within the past two years or more than two previous times in their lifetime
- They do not admit to the offense, agree to make restitution or they pose a risk to the safety of himself or others in the community if not arrested.
What Offenses are Eligible?
- All misdemeanor offenses and violations of city and county ordinances with some exceptions mostly dealing with violent, sexual, and weapons offenses, to wit:
- Assault on a Specified Official
- Domestic Violence Battery
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- Driving Under the Influence
- Exposure of a Sexual Organ
- Improper Exhibition of a Weapon
- Lewd and Lascivious Act
- Stalking or Cyberstalking
- Sexual Cyberharassment
- Dating injunction violations
- Failure to Ensure School Attendance
- Other offenses left to the discretion of the law enforcement official
What the Program Requires
If the offender can complete the program requirements within 120 days, the charges will be dismissed entirely and the offender will not have any judicial record of the crime. Within those 120 days, the offender must:
- Report to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Probation within 72 hours of being noticed of eligibility for the program
- Complete 16 hours of community service
- Pay restitution if appropriate
- Complete an appropriate program (anger management, impulse control, substance abuse, etc. at the discretion of the program officer)
- Letter of apology if appropriate
- No contact with victims and co-defendants if appropriate
What if You Don’t Complete the Program
If the program is not completed within 120 days, the program administrator will notify the Office of the State Attorney and they will direct file charges and the case will proceed through regular prosecution through the courts.