Pre-Trial Diversion Program
In April of 2021, District Attorney Randy McGinley announced the implementation of an updated Pre-Trial Diversion Program (PTIP). The program was originally started in 2017 and has since helped hundreds of individuals get a second chance at having a clean record. The updates seek to continue this success by both streamlining and expanding the program.
PTIP serves as an alternative to the traditional prosecution of first-time and lower level offenders by diverting them from the criminal justice system while also keeping the community safe and ensuring justice for victims.
This program is designed with the following goals:
- Deter future criminal conduct;
- Reduce the number of less serious cases in the courts;
- Provide restitution to the victim;
- Provide an offender with an opportunity to accept responsibility without having a criminal conviction on their record;
- Provide rehabilitative services, life-skills training, and other opportunities to correct the underlying issues that led to criminal activity instead of incarceration; and
- Protect the community by supervising participants.
Georgia law (OCGA § 15-18-80) allows for the District Attorney’s Office to create and administer such a program. Entry into the program shall be at the discretion of the District Attorney based upon written guidelines. However, by law any crime that requires a mandatory minimum sentence of incarceration or imprisonment that cannot be probated is ineligible for participation in the program.
Those that apply for PTIP (or are given an offer to participate from the DA’s office) will be screened by the prosecutor assigned to the case in order to determine whether the case qualifies for PTIP. Additionally, the assigned prosecutor will decide which Track the participant fits into. The program will have two Tracks: Track I is the “drug track” and Track II is the non-drug track. Track I will cover not only drug possession crimes, but also crimes which arose from substance abuse issues. Track I is a longer program than Track II and includes intensive drug screening and treatment designed to address the participant’s underlying problems with addiction.
One important thing that has not changed is that victims will always be consulted prior to a participants’ entry into the program. In addition to shifting to the two Track systems, below is a summary of the other major changes to the program:
- The District Attorney’s Office will no longer be supervising participants. That duty will fall to Georgia Probation Management. This puts supervision in the hands of those who do that regularly while freeing time for DA’s Investigators to focus on serious and violent crimes.
- The default will be that any restitution due to victims will be paid in full at the initial supervision meeting. Therefore, victims will more quickly be made whole.
- There will be a monthly supervision fee. However, the initial fee to enter the program has been lowered in light of this.
- More drug possession crimes will qualify for participation. This includes all Schedule III, IV, and V substances as well as marijuana. More serious drugs that are listed in Schedules I and II are not eligible because of the nature of those substances. Exceptions are made for THC oil and cocaine. Additionally, cases involving a small number of marijuana plants that are clearly for personal use only will be eligible for entry into the program. Crimes involving sale, trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute will continue to be ineligible for the Alcovy PTIP.
- Track I can be supervised for between 6-12 months, while Track II, the non-drug track cases, can be supervised for between 3-6 months.
- Payments will now be made to Georgia Probation Management instead of the Clerk’s Office of each county, which expands the methods by which payments can be made (i.e., online).
As both offices continue to diligently and successfully work towards resolving any backlog of ready for trial cases, we recognize that non-violent and less serious crimes committed by those with no criminal history can often be resolved through intervention rather than prosecution. Those that successfully complete the program will have their charges dismissed and the arrest will automatically be restricted (expunged) from their record.