Diversion Court Overview
The Diversion Court was established as a Specialty Court in the 2nd Judicial District in February of 2000. The Diversion Court encompasses the statutory definition of diversion in NRS Chapters 453 and 458 as applied to defendants who are designated as alcoholics or addicts by the sentencing court and otherwise meet the requirements of the statutes to be sentenced for up to three years in a court-supervised rehabilitation program. Once a District Court Judge accepts the guilty plea and determines that a defendant qualifies for Diversion Court, the case is referred to the Specialty Courts. Approximately 130 participants each year enroll in the Diversion Court.
The Diversion Court is funded by the defendants themselves who are allowed to choose a provider from a list of Court-approved organizations. (BADA certified). Every defendant is required to attend weekly counseling sessions during the first six months of the program, attend three NA/AA/rational recovery groups per week, and participate in weekly random drug testing. Defendants are required to pay for their treatment and for drug testing.
The Diversion Court allows for close coordination with the other criminal specialty courts. Defendants who do not perform well in the Diversion Court, a less intensive version of Adult Drug Court, may be transferred to the regular Drug Court or to the Mental Health Court if it is determined that the source of the problem is a severe mental illness.
The primary drugs of choice in the Diversion Court are methamphetamine, marijuana and alcohol, followed closely by opiate abuse. The defendants in Diversion Court tend to be involved in the earlier stages of addiction or alcoholism and thus, are more likely to succeed in a less intensive intervention program.
The minimum required length of program for all Diversion Court defendants is 18 months. The last six months of the program, the defendant must be “perfect,” that is, fulfill all testing requirements, attend all required groups, and pay parole and probation supervision fees, counseling fees, and court fees in full.
At the end of the initial orientation, willing and eligible defendants are immediately scheduled for introduction to the Judge in the court session that afternoon. Their case is then processed through the normal court channels.
The defendant is also given a list of BADA-certified substance abuse treatment agencies and selects the provider that best meets his/her needs in terms of location, hours of operation, and cost. The defendant is quickly engaged in the treatment process and begins testing and treatment as soon as practically possible, always before the next Diversion Court appearance in two weeks.
Upon acceptance, the entire case is transferred to the Specialty Courts Division, to allow the Diversion Court Judge to have full jurisdiction over the case, including final disposition. Upon final disposition, the case is closed per normal court procedures.