What is diversion?

Diversion is a voluntary way to resolve minor criminal charges. It is also called “direct accountability”.

If you complete the you are offered, you will not be of the you were charged with. The Crown will either stay or withdraw your charges.

And there will not be a formal “finding of guilt.” But, in some cases you may be required to accept responsibility.

In return, you must do some work. This work is called “upfront” work.

Crown may offer diversion

If this is the first time you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, the Crown may offer you diversion. If you are being offered diversion, you usually find out at your first appearance. It’s up to you whether you accept diversion.

If the Crown hasn’t offered you diversion, you or your lawyer can try to convince the Crown that you should be. This sometimes happens during a Crown pre-trial or a judicial pre-trial.

What you must do

Your upfront work may include:

  • community service
  • a charitable donation
  • anger management counselling
  • addiction or mental health counselling
  • a combination of the above

Some diversion programs, such as Mental Health Diversion or for youth, are more formal. Whether you use a formal or informal program, you must do the upfront work to avoid being prosecuted.

You can change your mind at any time about accepting diversion and set a date instead.

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