The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office 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.
Diversion Policy 17.1 - Purpose, Goals, and Authorization
Diversion Policy 17.2 - Felony Diversion Program
Diversion Policy 17.3 - Animal Cruelty Diversion Program
Diversion Policy 17.4 - Parenting Skills Diversion Program
Diversion Policy 17.5 - Justice Court Diversion Programs
Diversion Policy 17.6 - Check Enforcement
Diversion Policy 17.8 - Domestic Violence Excessive Response Diversion
Diversion Policy 17.9 - Veterans’ Diversion Program
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:
NEW… Veterans’ Diversion Program
The MCAO Veterans’ Diversion Program is a pre-trial diversion program to offer veteran-focused treatment and services in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, EMPACT, and Averhealth. This diversion program is offered to service members with an honorable or general discharge who have been charged with a lower-level felony. When the program is offered by MCAO prosecutors and accepted by the Veteran, prosecution is suspended for the Veteran to participate in the program. If successful, the felony charge is dismissed.
MCAO recognizes that a Veteran offender may have returned from service with military-related trauma such as PTSD, that can lead to issues with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, other mental health disorders, and in some cases suicide. Also, recognizing and receiving treatment is often difficult for the Veteran because of stigma. To learn more about this program, download information about Veterans’ Diversion.
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.
Make an Animal Cruelty Diversion Restitution Payment
Check Enforcement Program
The program began in the late 1980s 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.
Developmental Disabilities – Felony Diversion Program
Beginning on November 18, 2021, MCAO begins a new diversion program called the Developmental Disabilities-Felony Diversion Program (DD-FDP). Eligibility includes offenders charged with a lower level felony with a qualifying DD diagnosis, as defined by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) that is identified in an evaluation or medical record and completed by a licensed physician or psychologist. Examples of qualifying diagnoses include but not limited to: Intellectual Disability, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Epilepsy. Referred offenders will be assessed and evaluated to determine their strengths and deficits in the areas of communication, behavioral skills, social skills, and daily living skills, which will be correlated with the identified criminogenic needs and diversion requirements. If applicable to the case, offenders will also receive services from the Southwest Autism Center of Excellence (SACE), and coordination with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and other community resources. To learn more about this program, download information about the Developmental Disabilities – Felony Diversion Program.
Domestic Violence Excessive Response Diversion (DVER)
Starting in March 2021, DVER is a unique domestic violence diversion program. The focus is on eligible individuals whose response to an intimate partner is excessive and when there is a distinct history of domestic violence against the accused partner. Upon referral, the individual will undergo an evidence-based assessment to determine the overall risk to re-offend and then be placed into an appropriate, gender-specific treatment track. There are specific requirements for successful completion of each treatment track and services will include cognitive-behavioral group counseling. Individuals will be provided the tools to develop self-regulation, problem-solving skills, and other coping strategies in response to past victimization and trauma, as well as practice opportunities for future scenarios. Treatment is individualized based upon the assessment and treatment length may vary. Individuals who successfully complete the program can have filed charges dismissed to avoid a conviction. To learn more about this program, download information about the Domestic Violence Excessive Response Diversion Program.
Make a DVER Diversion Restitution Payment
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 re-offend 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.
Make a Felony Diversion Program Restitution Payment
Justice Court Diversion
The original Justice Court Diversion Program began in 2008 as an education program for eligible individuals charged with specific misdemeanor offenses and citations to avoid a conviction. Recently, MCAO enhanced the Justice Court Diversion Program by offering evidence-based curricula and implementing a screening tool to better identify and address individual needs. Referred individuals attend an intake appointment with the contracted vendor, which includes a screening and placement into either an 8-hour substance use or cognitive skills class. These classes provide education about the identified needs, allows the individual to gain insight into his/her behavior, and provides accountability for the criminal conduct. Upon successful completion of the education class, filed charges can be dismissed with prejudice. 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 charged with lower-level felonies related to excessive child discipline. 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 Skills Diversion Program can have filed charges dismissed to avoid a felony conviction. 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 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/Arizona Retailer Tobacco Training (ARTT)
A focused justice court diversion program offered through the Arizona Department of Health Services 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/ARTT.
For more information on the Maricopa County Diversion Programs, please contact the Maricopa County Diversion Strategies Group 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.