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 "Review the Client's Options" that describes diversion. Also see the appendices at the end of the chapter. They include a description of how to submit a request for diversion, a sample diversion letter, and a chart showing a breakdown of crimes and offences and whether or not diversion may be considered.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed May 2015

charged with a crime, diversion (alternative measures), avoiding trial