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Diversion

Program Information

Many juveniles referred to juvenile court are first or second time offenders who commit offenses such as shoplifting, malicious mischief, fare evasion, or possession of alcohol.  These youth may be eligible for an alternative to formal involvement with the court process known as "diversion."  Diversion is provided by the Los Angeles County Probation Department. After a probation officer reviews the case and determines that the youth is eligible for diversion. The youth will enter into a written agreement about what consequences will be imposed for the youth's behavior.  The agreement may include community restitution work (i.e. community service), a fine, counseling, informational or educational classes, and other options.  State law defines the types and extent of consequences that that may be imposed.  If the youth does not want to participate in diversion or fails to comply with the agreement, the youths case may be referred to a hearing officer who will meet with the youth and parent or, in formal diversion the matter could be submitted to the District Attorney for petition where the youth and parent would have to attend court and meet with a judge.  The youth would require an attorney; one could be provided by the court if the family could not afford an attorney for the youth.

 

Citation Diversion Information

Phone Numbers  
Police Agency Questions  

 

                    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CITATION DIVERSION       

 

 

  1. What is Citation Diversion?
  2. What are the differences between citation diversion and court?
  3. What if I do not want to go through diversion?
  4. How many times can I go through diversion?
  5. Who can I call to ask questions about diversion?
  6. Do my parents have to come with me to meet the Probation Officer?
  7. What will happen at my diversion meeting?
  8. What if my parents have already punished me?
  9. When will I be contacted by Probation about my case?
  10. How long after I receive the letter will I have to decide about how I want to handle my case?
  11. What if I don’t make any choice and/or don’t return the letter?
  12. What if I did not do what the ticket said I did, the ticket is wrong or I am not guilty?
  13. If I want to do community service how long will I have to complete it?
  14. What happens if the ticket was for drugs or alcohol?
  15. If I want to do community service how long will I have to complete it?
  16. If I don’t do the Community Service hours what happens?  
  17. If my license is suspended for not doing the community service or for not paying the administrative fee or for not appearing on the ticket how do I get the license back or for a vandalism, drug or alcohol violation?
  18. What if I drive while my license is suspended?

What if I have an old court case?
 

What is Citation Diversion?

Diversion is a way of dealing with youth who are charged with an offense where the youth does not go to court and there is no trial. Instead of having the case tried in a formal courtroom setting before a judge, the youth and his or her family meet with a Probation Officer; the officer makes no findings of innocence or guilt. By appearing before the Probation Officer, the youth is able to take responsibility for his or her actions without obtaining a criminal record. After participating in diversion, a youth may truthfully say that they have not been convicted of a crime.
 

What are the differences between diversion and court?

Juvenile Court: Hearings may be open to the public
Lawyer is appointed or parents have to hire one
Appear before a judge
Held during the day.
The court process may take 3-8 months or longer
If found responsible, the matter stays on the record
A fee and fine can be  charged

Citation

Diversion:

Proceedings are confidential and private
No lawyer is appointed
Appear before a Probation Officer or Probation Hearing Officer

No conviction or criminal record
Administrative Fee may be charged

 

What if I do not want to go through citation diversion?

If you choose not to participate in citation diversion or if you fail to respond to your diversion letter by the response date, your citation will be set to meet with a probation officer or hearing officer.  You could have your driving privileges suspended or put in abeyance until you resolve the citation.
 

How many times can I go through citation diversion?

You may be allowed to participate in citation diversion on multiple infractions or misdemeanor offenses. However, the police officer may decide to not use a citation and write a report that would require the case to be heard in probation where it could go before the court and a judge.
 

Who can I call to ask questions about citation diversion?

If you have questions about citation diversion that are not answered by this web page, you may call the following numbers between 9:00am and 3:30pm, Monday through Friday: (818) 901-3001 or (818) 901-3002. Or email citationdiversion@probation.lacounty.gov someone will respond to your questions.
 

Do my parents have to come with me to meet the Probation Officer?

Yes. Your parent or guardian must accompany you.
 

What will happen at my citation diversion meeting?

The Probation Officer will first speak with you and your parent(s) or guardian(s) together.  If you agree to participate in citation diversion, a Diversion Agreement will be written. This agreement may require you to complete one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Perform community service hours
  • Pay an administrative fee
  • Pay restitution to a victim
  • Attend counseling
  • Attend an educational or informational session (class)
  • Obey a curfew
  • Attend parent-teen mediation.

What if my parents have already punished me?

Parental discipline at home does not excuse you from your responsibility to be accountable for your actions the community when a citation has been submitted. You will have the opportunity to share whatever consequences your parents may have imposed with the Probation Officer. They may take this into consideration when deciding what to include in your Diversion Agreement.
 

When will I be contacted by Probation about my case?

Sometimes police departments do not file the citation right away and there may be a delay. Once Probation has received the citation and enters it into the citation diversion data  system you will receive a letter that explains the options you can chose from to help you work toward completing a sanction on your citation.
 

How long after I receive the letter will I have to decide about how I want to handle my case?

Once you receive the letter with the options related to your case you will have TEN (10) DAYS to return your response.
 

What if I don’t make any choice and/or don’t return the letter?

If you do not make any choice or if you don’t return the letter within the TEN (10) DAY period DMV will be notified and it may affect your driver’s license or the ability to get a license until the case is completed by you.
 

What if I did not do what the citation said I did, the citation is wrong or I believe I am not guilty?

You have a right to challenge the citation and explain what happened. You can indicate that on the letter you receive and you will be given a date to appear and explain what happened.
 

If I want to do community service how long will I have to complete it?

You will be given 60 days to finish the community service work hours if you were given that option or if you chose to do that to take care of the citation.

 

If I don’t do the Community Service hours what happens?

If you do not finish the community service hours you will have to show proof of the number of hours you finished. If there is a valid reason for not completing the hours you may be given one extension to finish the remaining time.  If you have done nothing within the required time you may be charged an administrative fee you will have to pay and it may affect your driving privileges or your ability to get a license.
 

What happens if the citation was for drugs or alcohol?

If the probation officer, you and your parents agree the charge is true you may be assigned to a program to help deal with the use of drugs or alcohol or to get assistance with possible problems for these issues. If you complete the program successfully the citation can be closed. If you want to meet with a hearing officer or probation officer on the citation one will be set for you upon request. If you want to pay an administrative fee indicate that on your letter and return it to the address listed on the letter.  In some cases your parent may have obtained counseling for drug or alcohol use.  In some situations, driving privileges can be suspended or placed in abeyance for the use of drugs and/or alcohol.
 

If my license is suspended for not doing the community service or for not paying the administrative fee or for not appearing on the citation or for a vandalism, drug or alcohol violation, how do I get the license reinstated?

If you did not do community service or did not complete a program or did not appear on your citation and the license is suspended or you cannot obtain it you must pay an administrative fee which is associated with the citation. If the violation was for drugs or alcohol or vandalism DMV was notified about the violation. You should contact DMV and get a print out of the information related to the suspension.
 

What if I drive while my license is suspended?

You can be given a citation for driving while your license is delayed or suspended. 
 

What if I have an old court case?

Contact DMV and get a copy of your information from them and then contact the Citation Diversion Program and they will set an appointment to help with that.

 

 

Telephone numbers

General Info

(818-901-3001)

Supervising Clerk

(818-901-3006)

Clerical Staff

(818-901-3005)

Clerical Staff

(818-901-3008)

Calendar  Clerk

(818-901-3005)

Spanish Speaking

(818-901-3001)

Spanish Speaking

E-mail


(818-901-3006)

Citationdiversion@probation.lacounty.gov

 

 

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