Office of the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney

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1 M.I.L.E.S. (Meaningful Intervention Leading to Enduring Success) A Pre-Trial Diversion Program by the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney s Office Overview The Bexar County Criminal District Attorney s Office is offering an opportunity under Article of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure for first time, young adult, offenders charged with certain misdemeanor offenses to have their charge dismissed following successful completion of a supervisory term and full payment of restitution and other fees. The opportunity provides a path for first time offenders to conclude their criminal justice involvement without a conviction on their record. Courts will reduce the number of defendants on their dockets and the jail administrator could see less jail beds utilized in the future if the recidivism of these defendants is reduced. Name M.I.L.E.S. -- Meaningful Intervention Leading to Enduring Success This program is named in honor of the late Ed Miles, Jr. who served as Director of Community Projects for the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney s Office. Goals The goal of the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney s M.I.L.E.S. program is to provide low supervision and quick restitution to victims on charges filed against first time, youthful, low-level misdemeanor offenders so the offender does not face challenges associated with a conviction on their record while seeking further education and/or starting a career. The District Attorney s Office wants to give an opportunity to young adult defendants that fit the eligibility guidelines to work towards having their charges dismissed by taking responsibility for their actions and meeting certain short-term supervisory requirements as stated below. The defendant will also have the opportunity to benefit from treatment and services if needed such as treatment for mental health and substance abuse. Eligibility Guidelines To qualify for this program, the applicant must be represented by an attorney (hired or appointed), be 17 to 21 years of age, and charged with a misdemeanor, but will be excluded if the defendant: Is charged with Family Violence, Driving While Intoxicated, or most Sexual Offenses 1 ; 1 Sexual offenses are generally excluded unless mitigating circumstances apply, e.g. victim of human trafficking or consent (excluding prostitution). 1

2 Faces non-contemporaneous multiple charges; Victimized a vulnerable member of the community including, but not limited to the elderly, the disabled, or a child; Has a record of prior offense convictions, adjudications, alternate sentencing, or pre-trial diversions, including juvenile offenses; Used or exhibited a weapon during the commission of the crime; and/or Is documented to be a gang member. The Bexar County Criminal District Attorney s office will consider the following factors before placing a defendant in the program: Previous arrests not resulting in a conviction, adjudication, alternate sentencing or pre-trial diversions, including juvenile arrests (defendant must explain on application form); Victim s input and approval will be considered before placing an individual into the program, if applicable; Restitution amount, if applicable, will be considered to determine if the amount is higher than a person could reasonably be expected to pay during the length of the program; Ability to successfully complete the program; and/or Any other factors noted in the application materials. The District Attorney s Office reserves the right to make exceptions, within its discretionary powers, to the guidelines and program eligibility based on any factors or circumstances presented in the application. Acceptance into the program is not guaranteed. APPLICATION: Time Schedule The M.I.L.E.S. application must be submitted through no later than 60 calendar days from the date of the first booking. This sixty (60) day restriction begins with bookings that occur after September 23, An exception may be made if there is no attorney of record within the 60 days of arrest. The application must be complete and must contain certified eligibility and supporting paperwork. As in other Texas counties, an application fee will be assessed. The nonrefundable application fee for Bexar County s M.I.L.E.S. program will be $50. The application form is simple and includes space for a defendant to describe his/her own mitigating circumstances, i.e., provide good cause as to why his/her participation in the program is in the best interest of the community. The Bexar County Criminal District Attorney s Office will create an internal committee to review the applications and cases. This committee will be comprised of District Attorney staff and prosecutors. They will review applications for the program on a weekly basis. The committee will select participants and contact the defendant s attorney of record. This is a web based program; therefore, 2

3 the defense attorney must be registered for ediscovery to be able to receive the with the notification of acceptance or denial into the program. If accepted, the terms of the agreement for the program will also be sent through ediscovery. The defendant has 10 calendar days to accept admittance into the program and turn in the signed agreement in person to Bexar County Pre-Trial Services. Defendants must certify in writing an acknowledgement that participation in the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney s M.I.L.E.S. program is a privilege, not a right. Other legal forms as determined by the Criminal District Attorney s Office must be completed and signed at this time. Once a defendant is accepted into the M.I.L.E.S. Program, a joint motion by the State and Defense counsel will be presented to the applicable court requesting that the case be reset on the court s docket to allow the defendant time to complete the program. In the case of a three (3) month Misdemeanor Class B supervision the request will be to reset the case for four (4) months. In the case of a six (6) month Misdemeanor Class A supervision the request to the court will be to reset the case for seven (7) months. Costs The program fee is $350 for a Class B Misdemeanor and $450 for a Class A Misdemeanor. All participants must pay the applicable program fee, court appointed attorney fees (if any) and all restitution, and all other costs (if any) within the applicable period of supervision which is three (3) months for a Class B Misdemeanor and six (6) months for a Class A Misdemeanor. The initial application fee is in addition to the above and is nonrefundable. If the defendant has an attorney appointed by the court, the defendant must pay the court appointed attorney s fees in full within the supervision period and are a requirement for successful completion of the program and dismissal of the charges. To determine the amount of the fee, the defense attorney will note on the application if the fee will be the $140 flat rate court appointed fee for a misdemeanor case (plus $25 for each additional case) or will state on the application the anticipated court appointed itemized attorney s fees (subject to Court approval). We anticipate that most cases will be billed at the flat rate Court appointed fee schedule. Supervision Bexar County Pre-Trial Services will supervise defendants charged with a Class B Misdemeanor offense for three (3) months and defendants charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for six (6) months. Pre-Trial Services will help facilitate community service and track the hours the defendant completes. The defendant is required to complete 24 hours of community for a Class B Misdemeanor charge and 48 hours for a Class A Misdemeanor charge. 3

4 Figure 1 below shows the three month supervisory term reporting schedule for a defendant charged with a Class B Misdemeanor. For a defendant charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, a defendant will meet in person and visit a Pre-Trial Services officer for the first month. The number of hours of community service will be discussed and the financial obligations; the second month the defendant will report by phone. The second meeting will give the supervising office an opportunity to ascertain if the defendant is in financial compliance with supervision and determine progress on community service. The third and final report will be in person. Figure 2 below shows the six month supervisory term meeting schedule for a defendant charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. The meeting schedule and obligations for a defendant charged with a Class A Misdemeanor are similar to those of a Misdemeanor B defendant except that a defendant charged with a Class A Misdemeanor must report by phone for an additional two months and report in person one additional month during the supervision period. (See Figure 2). As stated above, the following Figures 1 and 2 depict the reporting requirements, i.e., in person or by phone, for defendants charged with a Class A or B Misdemeanor: Figure 1: Supervision Schedule for a Three Month Diversion Term (Class B Misdemeanor) (Community Service assessed) Month 1 (Financial obligations & community service evaluated) Month 2 (Discharge process started) Month 3 Figure 2: Supervision Schedule for Six Month Diversion Term (Class A Misdemeanor) (Intake process) In person (Financial obligations & community service evaluated) (Discharge process started) Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 4

5 Non-Compliance Office of the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney The Criminal District Attorney s Office will terminate the program and ask the court to set the misdemeanor case on the court s docket at any time during the diversion period if the defendant reoffends or does not meet with the supervising officer as scheduled. All conditions of supervision, including payment of restitution, costs and fees, must be completed and met before the end of the period of supervision in order to successfully complete the program. For a defendant charged with a Class B Misdemeanor the progress on financial obligations will be evaluated during a phone meeting in the second month of supervision and at month five for a defendant charge with a Class A Misdemeanor. However, the participants may call and request a balance at any time to confirm the defendant is in compliance. The supervising officer will inform the defendant of the balance due. This balance must be paid by the third or sixth month in-person visit, depending on the charge. Failure to pay restitution, fees, perform community service hours, or complete any other condition of supervision will result in the defendant being discharged from the program. Community service must be complete by the last month in the supervision period for a defendant to be considered in compliance. Discharge The defendant s case will be dismissed upon successful completion of the program. Benefits The most obvious benefit to the defendant is having the charge dismissed at the end of the supervision period. The defendant will also benefit from the ability of Pretrial Services to link participants to treatment, mental health, and education resources if needed. 5

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