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Diversion Programs More Effective Than the Normal Criminal Justice Court Process

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Most states in America recognize that low-level offenses committed by first-time offenders do not necessarily need to go through the normal criminal case process. Though effective in serving some purposes like getting the bad guys off the streets, the ordinary criminal justice process does not effectively rehabilitate offenders or promote behavioral changes. 

Diversion programs offer first-time, low-level offenders an opportunity to learn from their mistakes without going through the regular legal process. As a result, this may not be effective in promoting behavioral change.

How Does a Diversion Program Work?

A diversion program is an alternative to the regular criminal legal process for some offenses. The program was created by a state’s legislative arm and signed into law. These laws identify the characteristic of a crime and the offender that qualify for a diversion. Depending on the diversion system, a defendant’s case may be diverted early into the case and does not require the defendant to take a plea. 

Other systems require the defendant to plead guilty to the charge, but the court defers the sentence until the defendant completes the diversion program. Upon completion of the diversion program, which can last for six months to a year, the court dismisses the case, and it does not show in your records. However, the arrest record will remain, but you can have it deleted later. If the offender does not complete the diversion program, the case returns to court. 

Diversion Programs Effectiveness

According to the ACLU, the diversion program seeks to identify the underlying problems leading to a crime. This makes diversion programs more effective in reducing recidivism and improving the community’s safety in the long term.

To the victims, diversion programs ensure that they get financial restitution for their losses. Sometimes they may receive a written apology from the offender, which can help mend relationships. They also get to participate in the restorative justice system by voicing their views which is critical in assisting them to know that they get justice. To the offender, diversion helps ensure that they avoid getting a criminal record, make amends with the victim, and help them learn from their mistakes and through the program helping them avoid similar offenses in the future. 

Diversion programs also ensure that fewer people go through the normal criminal justice system, easing the system’s burden and correctional facilities. According to ACUL, if prosecutors used diversion programs more, the population in America’s correctional facilities would reduce by approximately 10 percent, translating into significant savings in the government.

Crimes That Qualify for Diversion Programs 

Diversion programs laws define the characteristic of offenses and offenders that qualify for diversion. These criminal charges include minor misdemeanor offenses, possession of certain drugs, first-time DUI offenders, petty theft, minor assaults, and domestic violence qualify for diversion in most states. 

Diversion programs are also effective in rehabilitating offenders with underlying mental illnesses. According to the center for prison reform, diversion programs for mentally ill offenders resulted in an 84 percent drop in the rearrests likelihood for offenders.

Jenny is one of the oldest contributors of Bigtime Daily with a unique perspective of the world events. She aims to empower the readers with delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from around the World.

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World

Why Accidents Involving Self-Driving Cars Are So Complex

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The last two decades have seen technological advancements and innovations improve tremendously. Technologies like video calling and driverless cars, which were only possible in Sci-Fi movies, are now a reality. 

Unlike some other technology faults, driverless car errors can be a matter of life and death. While there is no doubt that driverless cars are the future of driving, a lot still needs to be done before the technology can be considered safe.

They May Not Be As Safe

In the past few years, there have been several stories about vehicles on autopilot causing an accident. Some of these situations would be easily avoidable for a human driver, bringing to question the safety of autonomous features. While accidents involving cars on autopilot usually result in less severe injuries than driver-operated vehicles, a recent study shows that their rate of getting into an accident is slightly higher. 

On average, there are 4.1 crashes per 1 million miles traveled for driver-operated vehicles compared to 9.1 per 1 million miles traveled for vehicles with autonomous driving features.

Misleading Terminologies

Currently, there isn’t much regulation on autonomous driving allowances. Most autonomous car makers capitalize on the loopholes in the law to create misleading terminologies regarding vehicles’ capabilities, making determining liability a complex issue. 

For example, Tesla refers to its advanced driver-assist feature as autopilot, which drivers can interpret as entirely autonomous. On its website, Tesla states that autopilot is an advanced driver assist feature meant to complement perceptive human drivers, not replace them. Unfortunately, many semi-autonomous car drivers get a sense of false security from the misleading terminology, resulting in devastating accidents. 

Accidents that happen under such circumstances can result in Tesla having liability. Recently, a court in Germany found the “autopilot” tag on tesla vehicles misleading. This means that Tesla could be liable for damages resulting from reliance on the feature. 

Technology Malfunction

Autonomous car makers could also be liable for an accident if a malfunction in their system causes an accident. Malfunctions can result from system failure or even cyber-attacks. 

In 2015, a planned hacking test was conducted on a Jeep. Surprisingly, the hackers were able to access the jeep remotely and stop it while traveling at 70 mph. Accidents that result from system hacking could see car manufacturers having liability because system hacks are outside the driver’s control. 

Driver Liability

In January of 2022, a 27-year-old Tesla driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter for hitting and killing two occupants of a Honda Civic at an intersection while on autopilot. This case marked the first time an American was facing criminal charges for autopilot-related accidents, which could set precedence for future accidents involving autopilot features. 

“Autopilot cannot and should not replace attentive driving,” says car accident attorney Amy Gaiennie. “All drivers should keep their attention on the road and only use any self-driving assistive technology to complement their safe driving practices.”

According to the NHTSA, vehicle control lies with the driver irrespective of how sophisticated its technology is. This means that accidents that result from a driver not playing their part in operating the vehicle can see the motorist carrying liability for the accident.

As it stands, vehicles cannot be considered entirely autonomous, but technology is headed there fast. But until then, the driver must play a significant role in operating a vehicle failure to which they could be liable for damages. 

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