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South Carolina Diversion Programs

South Carolina Diversion Programs

Getting convicted in South Carolina is punishable by harsh criminal penalties, including fines and jail or prison time – even if it is your first offense. Additionally, a conviction will permanently remain on your criminal record. 

However, the courts understand that many first-time defendants are not seasoned criminals. Rather, they made a serious mistake that they deeply regret, which is why there are “diversion programs” available for many first-time offenders of low-level, non-violent crimes. 

These programs require defendants to meet certain conditions, such as participating in a treatment program, enrolling in group or individual therapy, performing community service, attending court appointments or meetings with a probation officer, and being subject to random alcohol and/or drug testing. If you complete the program by meeting all the program’s requirements, your charges will be dropped, and you will be eligible to apply for expungement

The following are several diversion programs available in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit: 

  • Alcohol Education Program (AEP) – This program is for first-time offenders between 17 and 20 years of age facing alcohol-related charges in Magistrate/Municipal Court and lasts up to 60 days. Program requirements include educational counseling, community service, and other requirements set forth by the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office. 

  • Drug Court – This program is for non-violent offenders with serious drug addictions and lasts up to 18 months. Participants will enter an intensive drug treatment program that is overseen by the court. 

  • Juvenile Arbitration – This program is for first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders and gives participants a chance to accept responsibility, repay the victim, and repair the harm done to the community through sanctions, such as community service, educational activities (e.g., alcohol and drug counseling, anger management, or skills classes), and restitution. 

  • Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) – This program is for first-time, non-violent offenders, or offenders with a limited criminal history. Common requirements include paying all fees and fines, paying restitution, submit to drug testing, attend all schedule appointments and counseling, forfeit all weapons, and perform community service hours. 

  • Traffic Education Program (TEP) – This program is for traffic-related offenses that carry a fine and loss of at least four points. Common conditions include community service and educational courses. 

If you or a loved one has been arrested in Lexington, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today at (803) 359-3301 for a free initial consultation. Defending clients in South Carolina since 2004. 


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