The Clay County State’s Attorney’s office has elected to offer a diversion program for young adults charged with a Minor in Consumption or Minor in Possession offenses contrary to SDCL 35-9-2. The diversion program is run through the State’s Attorney’s office, and determination about whether a person charged will be offered the opportunity for diversion remains entirely within the discretion of the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Diversion Goals include:
When an individual over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 is cited for a Minor in Consumption or Minor in Possession offense, they will be provided a court date by the law enforcement officer on their citation. At the time of the defendant’s initial court appearance the magistrate court prosecutor will have screened the individual for diversion eligibility and will advise at court whether the office is willing to offer the defendant diversion for the offense. If an offender is interested in pursing diversion options, the court appearance will be continued to a later to date to allow follow-up with the magistrate prosecutor, enrollment in the program if the offender chooses, and time to complete the requirements of the program.
General criteria used to screen eligibility for diversion includes:
An in-person meeting with the prosecutor is required for enrollment in the diversion program. It is important for defendants to understand the terms of the agreement and ask any question they may have about the program. The program is voluntary; and at the conclusion of the meeting or at any time before the following court appearance a participant may opt to forgo the diversion requirements and proceed with formal court proceedings instead. Requirements of the program are strictly adhered to. Non-compliance with any one term of the diversion contract will result in unsuccessful discharge and require the defendant proceed with the formal court process for the original offense cited.
Failure to appear at court appearances will result in a bench warrant. It is the defendant’s obligation to ensure follow-up documentation is provided to the State’s Attorney’s office and that their obligations for the diversion program have been adhered to. Correspondence from parents, friends, significant others, or other individuals will not be deemed sufficient.