How can I get my mischief charges dropped?
If you have recently been charged with mischief, there is a chance that you can get your charges dropped through a pre-trial diversion program. Some pre-trial diversion options that can result in your mischief charges being withdrawn are the alternative measures program and mental health diversion.
The alternative measures program may be a viable option for you if this is your first offence or your second offence (with at least two years between the two charges), and the mischief was fairly minor in nature. If you were experiencing some mental health issues at the time of the offence, and these issues contributed to your actions on the day in question, there is also a possibility that you could be a candidate for mental health diversion. Mental health diversion is a program that is designed to help you address the issues that contributed to your offence while rehabilitating you as an offender.
Whether you are accepted into alternative measures or mental health diversion, you will have to complete a program designed for you by a social worker or probation officer. This will typically include paying restitution to the victim of the offence, and perhaps completing some amount of community service or counselling. If you are completing mental health diversion, you will also be expected to complete some amount of medical treatment. Once you have completed all that is required by the program, the charges against you will be withdrawn.
If you are not given a pre-trial diversion option, there is still a range of other sentencing options available to you, some of which may even allow you to avoid a criminal record. For example, depending on the circumstances of the offence and your personal circumstances at the time of the offence, you may be a good candidate for a discharge. There are two types of discharges that you can seek following a conviction for mischief: an absolute discharge and a conditional discharge. Absolute discharges are extremely rare, but if granted you will be immediately and permanently discharged from your offence. If you are granted a conditional discharge, you will be expected to abide by probationary terms set out by the court for a specified period of time. If you successfully comply with the terms for the period of time that they are set in place, you will be discharged from your offence. Note that an application for a discharge can only be made after you have either pled or been found guilty of the offence. While a conditional discharge will show up on most criminal record checks for the period of 3 years, and an absolute discharge will show up for the period of one year, it is not the same as a criminal conviction and will not likely have as negative of an effect on your employment and travel prospects.
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