Misdemeanor Diversion Program
Cumberland County, with the support and approval of the Board of Commissioners, operates a Misdemeanor Diversion Program
(MDP) for 16- and 17-year-olds who have no adult criminal record.
North Carolina is one of only two states that prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds charged with criminal offenses in the
adult system. Even when charges are dismissed, if the arrest and court records are not expunged, the incident and youth’s
record of arrest follows him or her into adulthood, creating significant impediments to employment and education. The
direct and indirect (or collateral) consequences of an arrest in the adult legal system can also have an impact on public
benefits, housing, licenses and legal residency status.
The purpose of the MDP is to divert first-time arrests or citations for eligible misdemeanor charges. Rather than issuing
a citation or making an arrest where probable cause exists, law enforcement officers in Cumberland County instead issue a
referral that initiates the diversionary process by directing the youth to contact the MDP representative in the Pretrial
The law enforcement officer simultaneously completes an Incident Report and an MDP Referral Form to forward to his or her
agency’s MDP Law Enforcement Liaison. After the liaison confirms that the youth is eligible for MDP, the liaison will then
submit the information to the MDP representative, who will meet with the youth and prepare a diversion plan and require
the youth to attend a mandatory court session.
Diversion plans include programming tailored for the individual youth, such as community service hours, leadership
classes, mentoring and restorative justice opportunities. After a period of no more than 90 days, the MDP Coordinator
will determine if there has been successful compliance with the diversion plan terms. If there is compliance, no charges
will be filed. If there has not been compliance, the MDP Coordinator will notify the Law Enforcement Liaison so that the
filing of formal charges can be considered.
16 or 17 years old at time of offense
No adult criminal record (can have a juvenile record)
Must be a misdemeanor offense. However, sex offenses, firearms offenses and traffic offenses are specifically excluded
Final discretion on MDP referral remains with law enforcement officers and the District Attorney’s Office
Restitution, if required, must be resolved outside the MDP process
For more information, please contact the MDP representative at firstname.lastname@example.org