Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion (OC-PAD)
Orange County Pre-Arrest Diversion (OC-PAD) Program
The purpose of the Orange County Pre-Arrest Diversion (OC-PAD) program is to provide law enforcement officers discretion to divert individuals who commit eligible misdemeanor offenses away from the criminal justice system, to resources and programing that educates, addresses therapeutic needs and reduces the harm of court involvement and the collateral consequences of having a public record.
The OC-PAD process begins with a referral to the Diversion Coordinator from law enforcement or the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Instead of issuing a criminal citation to appear in court or making a formal arrest, the officer will confirm program eligibility (no prior criminal history) for OC-PAD, complete an incident report, an OC-PAD referral form and will give the individual a contact card that includes a brief summary of the program and instructions to contact the Diversion Coordinator within 72 business hours (Monday – Friday) of the alleged incident.
The Diversion Coordinator or CJRD Director will meet with the referred individual to complete an intake assessment and prepare a diversion plan. A diversion plan typically includes programming tailored to address the behavior/actions of the alleged offense(s). For example, a diversion plan could include community service, mental health and/or substance use treatment, educational and restorative justice opportunities. On average, programming is completed in 90 days or less. Once the individual successfully completes the requirements of their diversion plan, their file is closed and charges are not filed.
It is important to note that this program should not be used UNLESS the law enforcement officer would otherwise initiate a formal criminal process.
- Final discretion on diversion referral remains with law enforcement and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office
- The individual must be 18 years or older
- No prior adult criminal record (can have prior Department of Juvenile Justice involvement)
- No prior OC-PAD or Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) involvement
- Must have committed one or more of the eligible offenses or have the consent of the District Attorney
- Restitution, if required, must be resolved outside the OC-PAD process
With the support and planning of Judicial District 15B District Attorney James R. Woodall, Public Defender Susan K. Seahorn, the Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Department, the Sheriff of Orange County, and the Chiefs of Police for Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and UNC-CH, the Orange County Pre-Arrest Diversion (OC-PAD) program was initiated for misdemeanor adult first-time offenders on February 4, 2019.