People who have never been involved with the criminal justice system are often amazed when they discover how complicated it is. When they find themselves in trouble for the first time, they may be pleasantly surprised at the options available to them. Sometimes, a defendant can get their case resolved before it goes to trial.

There are two primary ways in which these pretrial resolutions can occur. One is a pretrial diversion, and the other is a deferred adjudication. While these might seem similar at first glance, they are very different. You will need to evaluate the suitability of each one in your case if both are offered.

Here are some things to know about these programs.

To plead or not to plead?

One of the biggest differences between the two options is that you have to enter a plea if you are going through a deferred adjudication. You don’t have to enter one if you choose a pretrial diversion program. This can make a big difference in the trajectory of your life after the case is resolved.

There may be multiple programs under each one of these categories to address the needs of defendants facing a variety of charges like domestic violence, drugs or drunk driving. The court will look at all the circumstances in a case in order to determine if one of these programs is suitable.

Program completion

All of the pretrial resolutions offered by a court come with specific conditions. In order to have the case fully dismissed, you must comply with the terms of the program. You can’t miss any steps in it, so if you are ordered to undergo rehabilitation for a drug issue or something similar, you will have to successfully complete it.

Most of these programs come with a lot of requirements, such as staying out of legal trouble and avoiding drugs and alcohol. You have to comply with these, too.

What choices do you have?

You do have options when you are facing criminal charges. The pretrial resolutions discussed here are only two of them. You also have the option of entering into a plea deal or going through a trial. These routes must be carefully considered, but they are viable possibilities in many cases. It is important to think about your goals when it comes to the resolution of your case.