Alternatives to Prosecution
Our top priority is to protect the public's safety and hold offenders accountable for their actions. As part of our mission, we also work to prevent and deter crimes from occurring in the first place. Mental health, drug addiction, and economic instability are complex issues that are an underlying reason for many of our cases. In some cases, the correct outcome is prison. In other cases collaboration, education, rehabilitation, and diversion will do more to redirect a person's path than a lifetime within the criminal justice system.
Diversion is an alternative to formal court proceedings and is appropriate for non-violent juvenile and adult offenders, focusing on rehabilitation instead of punishment. The program is a voluntary alternative to criminal adjudication that allows a diversion-eligible person accused of a crime to complete a formal program designed to address, treat, or remedy the underlying issues related to the allegations against them. Diversion aims to change behavior and reduce offender recidivism through targeted interventions based on risk and need.
Diversion officers work with clients using a strengths-based lens to create individual and targeted case plans. Case plans may include programs that are designed to interrupt the lifestyle and addictions that lead to further criminal involvement, and to help people make better choices in their lives, ultimately keeping them from further criminal activity. If the defendant successfully completes the program, their case will be dismissed and expunged (juvenile) or sealed (adult). Click here for more information on Diversion and Restorative Justice Programs.
Restorative Denver is a partnership between the Denver District Attorney’s Office and The Conflict Center, a community-based nonprofit organization. Cases are screened for this program and, if appropriate, referred to The Conflict Center to be handled through this community-based, restorative justice process. To be eligible for Restorative Denver, defendants must be willing to take accountability for their actions and agree to work on repairing the harm they caused, and the victims must be open to having their cases handled through restorative justice. If the defendant successfully completes the restorative justice process, the case will be dismissed. Click here for more information on Diversion and Restorative Justice Programs.
These specialized courts which are within our Behavioural Health Unit, focus on the mental health or substance misuse issues that are often the underlying contributors to criminal offenses. Cases in our Behavioral Health Unit are frequently referred to one of these specialty courts based on the defendant's eligibility and willingness to comply with the requirements of the specific program.
Helping, Encouraging and Motivating Court. Serves individuals charged with misdemeanor 1 drug charges. Completion of the program results in a case dismissal.
Formerly known as Drug Court, this court-supervised probation program is for defendants whose criminal behavior is being driven by addiction issues. Participants serve 90 days in Denver County Jail and are then on probation for a minimum of three years.
Recognizing and Establishing Smart Treatment Alternatives for Recovering and Transition Program. Designed to break the cycle of addiction, this is a three-year court-supervised probation program for defendants with multiple DUI convictions.
Resilience, Empowerment, Autonomy, Community, Hope. Designed to lessen the amount of time a defendant spends incarcerated while awaiting competency restoration services. This program is also designed to find community-based treatment options.
Unit prosecutors represent the Office at first and second advisements, which are the first two court appearances for offenders arrested for, and subsequently charged with felony offenses. The unit argues bond and addresses probable cause for defendants upon arrest for felonies and misdemeanors.
Sobriety Court is a special treatment court in Denver County for misdemeanor offenders. It was developed to reduce the recidivism of drunk driving in Denver. This program is voluntary and eligibility for the program is based on legal screening. It consists of three phases and is approximately 19-24 months in length. For information about this program click here.
This is a court-supervised probation program for veterans of the armed forces. The program connects our veterans with services through the VA to identify and address the underlying causes of their criminal behavior.
This is a diversion program run through a partnership with WellPower. The unit attorneys identify individuals charged with low-level offenses who have been previously found incompetent. This is a six-month diversion program that the Denver District Attorney’s Office supervises. Individuals are released to the community with treatment plans and, if they remain compliant, their cases will be dismissed.
To reduce the time it takes to determine competency, BHU participates in a competency screening docket. Defendants are screened by a licensed psychiatrist within one week of a request for evaluation. Competent defendants can be screened and returned to the trial courtroom within two weeks instead of two months. Incompetent defendants are added to the REACH docket.
Handgun Intervention Program
This program offers a second chance to minors convicted of first-time, non-violent firearm offenses. Young people under the age of 18 arrested for illegal possession of a gun receive an opportunity to be admitted to the program. Those who successfully complete the six-week educational program and six months of probation will have their convictions expunged.