Gwinnett County Juvenile Court
115 Stone Mountain Street
Lawrenceville, GA 30046-6900
770-619-6300

Monday through Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

 

Home Juvenile CourtYouth Diversion Program

Youth Diversion Program

General Information

The Gwinnett County Youth Diversion Program works with certain first-time juvenile offenders and their families by offering an alternative to the juvenile court system. The program is based on the widely accepted belief that not all cases are best handled through formal delinquency complaints and court hearings. The program provides first-time nonviolent offenders the opportunity to resolve the matter within the community without beingprosecuted through the traditional court process.

The Youth Diversion Program (YDP) has successfully served Gwinnett County since 1996. The primary goals of the diversion program are to encourage at-risk teenagers to engage in more positive and constructive behavior; intervene at an early stage to avoid the possibility of progression toward more serious offenses and help the teen avoid the negative connotations associated with a formal referral to juvenile court.

Once a juvenile is referred to the Youth Diversion Program, a panel of trained community volunteers will meet with the juvenile and his or her parents or guardian. The panel will conduct a conference and hear the facts of the juvenile's case. The panel will then determine the appropriate consequences, and execute a signed agreement for participation in the program. If the youth successfully completes the program, the case will be dismissed, and the juvenile will not have a delinquency record. If the juvenile does not successfully complete the program or voluntarily withdraws from the program, the case will go to court for prosecution.

In order to participate in the Youth Diversion Program, the juvenile must be willing to admit to the offense(s) in which he or she was charged. It is important to understand that this is NOT a formal admission of guilt on the record. This is simply an opportunity for the juvenile to take responsibility for his or her actions and acknowledge the need to move in a more positive direction.

A juvenile's participation in the Youth Diversion Program is voluntary. If the juvenile chooses not to participate in the program, the case will go forward through the court system. It is important to understand the juvenile has the right to deny the charge and have his or her case heard formally before Gwinnett County Juvenile Court.

Stephanie Morrison
Youth Diversion Program Coordinator
Phone: (770) 619-6361

 

Important Information

Email Policy:

  • Each parent / guardian and child will need to provide the program coordinator, Stephanie Morrison, with a working email address.

  • If you have questions or concerns regarding your case / action plan, please contact Stephanie Morrison at the following email address: stephanie.morrison@gwinnettcounty.com

  • Please do not use voicemail.


Directions for Community Service Time Sheet:

  • Please take the time sheet to the location in which you complete your ordered hours. Make sure the work supervisor logs your hours each time you work.

  • Make sure the location is a non-profit organization.

  • Make a copy of your time sheet upon completion of your hours for your records. This will ensure you do not have to repeat the hours if your timesheet is lost or misplaced.

  • Please mail or email the time sheet to the below listed address.


Directions for fee payment:

  • You may pay in person (cash, money order or cashier's check) at Gwinnett County Juvenile Court.

  • You may mail your payment to Gwinnett County Juvenile Court (see below address). If you mail your payment, you must send a cashier's check or money order. Do not send a personal check or cash.

 

Mailing Address

Please mail all documents and payment to:
Gwinnett County Juvenile Court
Attn: Stephanie Morrison
115 Stone Mountain St.
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046

 

Email Address

If you have any questions please email the program coordinator at:

stephanie.morrison@gwinnettcounty.com

 

What is diversion?

Diversion is a way of dealing with youth who are charged with an offense where the youth does not go to court and there is no trial. Instead of having the case tried in a formal courtroom setting before a judge, the youth and his or her family meet with a Youth Diversion Panel (YDP) comprised of volunteers from the youth’s community. Participation in the Youth Diversion process is completely voluntary. You have the right to go to court and have your case heard formally by a Gwinnett County Juvenile Court Judge. The YDP makes no findings of innocence or guilt. By appearing at the diversion meeting, the youth is able to take responsibility for his or her actions without obtaining a criminal record. After participating in diversion, a youth may truthfully say that they have not been convicted of a crime.

 

What are the differences between diversion and court?

Prior to mailing in or filing your petition in our office, please contact the estate clerk at (770) 822-8350 for the current filing fees. All fees are due at the time of filing. The Probate Court accepts cash, credit cards (Visa, Discover, MasterCard), personal check, or money order.

Juvenile Court:

  • Hearings are open to the public

  • Lawyer is appointed

  • Appear before a judge

  • The court process may take more than one day to resolve

  • All decisions will be a matter of record and youth will have a juvenile court record

Youth Diversion:

  • Proceedings are confidential and private

  • No lawyer is appointed

  • Appear before a panel of community volunteers

  • Meetings are held in your community, usually in the evening

  • Youth will have no adjudication or criminal record

 

What if I do not want to go through diversion?

A guardianship of a minor terminates on the day the minor turns 18, is adopted, becomes emancipated, or dies. A court order may also terminate a guardianship.

 

Can I get a copy of my arrest report?

The diversion office is not authorized to release police reports for diversion cases. This is due in part to the fact that there are often names of other juveniles, witnesses, and victims in police reports which must remain confidential. Some police agencies will release police reports. If you want a copy of your police report, you must contact the arresting police agency.

 

Do I have to have a lawyer to go through diversion?

No. You do not have to have an attorney present to participate in diversion; however, you do have the right to have an attorney present at your diversion meeting. If you choose to have a lawyer present at your diversion meeting, you must pay for this service. If you wish to have an attorney present, you must contact the Youth Diversion Coordinator, Stephanie Morrison, prior to your conference.

 

Who will be at my Diversion meeting?

You, your parent(s) or guardian(s) and YDP volunteers; the Youth Diversion Coordinator may also be present at the diversion meeting. The YDP members are volunteers from your community who have been screened and trained to hear diversion cases. Everyone present will have signed an agreement to keep all matters discussed in the meeting confidential.

 

Do my parents have to come with me to my diversion meeting?

Yes. Your parent or guardian must accompany you to your diversion meeting.

 

What will happen at my diversion meeting?

The Youth Diversion Panel will first speak with you and your parent(s) or guardian(s) together. Upon hearing the facts of the case, they will confer among themselves. Finally, they will bring you and your parent(s) or guardian(s) back into the room where they will most likely ask you to sign a Diversion Agreement. The Diversion Agreement is a legal contract between you and the YDP. This contract may require you to complete one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Perform community service hours

  • Attend an educational or informational session (class)

  • Submit to a drug screen

  • Require school attendance

  • Refrain from visiting certain locations

  • Refrain from contact with certain individuals

  • Obey a curfew and/or rules of the home

 

How long will the diversion meeting take?

Diversion meetings usually take between 30 minutes and an hour

 

What happens after my diversion meeting?

If you signed a Diversion Agreement, you will be assigned a follow up panel member to keep track of your progress on completion of the Diversion Agreement. If you do not complete the conditions of your agreement in the time allotted or if you do not provide proof of completion by the completion date, your case will be returned to the prosecuting attorney to be petitioned before Gwinnett County Juvenile Court.

 

What if my parents have already punished me?

Parental discipline at home does not excuse you from your responsibility to be accountable for your actions in court or at your diversion meeting. However, you will have the opportunity to share whatever consequences your parents may have imposed with the YDP. They may take this into consideration when deciding what to include in your Diversion Agreement.

 

Who will know about my diversion?

The diversion process is confidential. Employers, potential employers, and military personnel do not have access to diversion records. Your participation in diversion is not public record. After participating in diversion you will NOT have a criminal record.

 

Documents & Forms

  Youth Diversion Program Explanation Letter to Parents
  PREGUNTAS MÁS FRECUENTES
  Advice of Rights - Spanish [DOC]
  Charges List
  Complaint [DOC]
  Dependency Petition [DOC]
  Runaway Complaint [DOC]
  Community Service Providers
  Community Service Time Sheet [DOC]
  Program Descriptions List
  SMART Summary
  SMART Program Referral Form [DOC]
  STRAP Brochure
  STRAP Inc Student Application [DOCX]
  Youth Challenge Brochure