Common Questions

How does diversion work and how can I get it?

If you are charged with a crime and you admit that you committed the crime, you may be able to deal with the charges without having to plead guilty or go to trial. You may be eligible for alternative measures, also known as diversion. Diversion is a program of community supervision by a probation office. If you are accepted into diversion, the range of options includes making an apology to the victim, doing community service, and taking part in counselling programs.

Good starting points include:

  • Alternative Measures (Diversion), from the Justice Education Society, explains what diversion is. It includes a form to give to the Crown prosecutor if you are requesting diversion.
  • Pleading Guilty to a Criminal Charge, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, explains what to do before pleading guilty and what happens if you plead guilty. It provides contextual information on multiple options, including diversion.
  • LSLAP Manual: Criminal Law, from the UBC Law Students Legal Advice Program, has a section called "Resolving Criminal Matters Prior to Trial" that includes information about diversion. Also see Appendix B at the end of the chapter, which includes a description of how to submit a request for diversion and a sample diversion letter.

Need more help?

  • Duty counsel are lawyers who can give you free brief advice. They are available at courthouses throughout the province. Call Legal Services Society Call Centre or your local court registry to find out about duty counsel hours in your area.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from CBA BC, helps you connect with a lawyer for an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes for $25 plus taxes. Find out what kind of help the lawyer can offer you and what you can afford.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

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Last reviewed September 2018
tags
charged with a crime, diversion (alternative measures), avoiding trial