With the Burden to Blessing pretrial diversion program in Collin County, individuals can get back on the path to well-being and success after an arrest.
The program, designed to provide participants with job, communication and problem-solving skills, results in expunged charges after successful completion.
The Collin County District Attorney opens the program to most offenders without prior violent misdemeanor or adult felony charges. Individuals facing charges for DWI or for violent or sexual offenses are not eligible.
The participant must apply through the program website within 30 days of hiring attorney representation with a personal statement. This letter should express the reasons why the person wants to participate in the diversion program and how he or she will make positive changes with this second chance at a clean record. The DA reviews each application to determine eligibility.
Most people complete Burden to Blessing within six to 12 months. To receive expunction of charges, the participant must:
- Complete 80 hours of community service for a misdemeanor charge and 120 hours for a felony charge
- Attend the Super Saturday: Framing New Horizons one-day class to waive 40 hours of community service
- Pay a $500 upfront program fee and a monthly $55 supervision fee
- Submit to orientation drug and alcohol testing as well as random drug testing throughout the program with a $25 fee for each screening
- Complete monthly visits with an assigned supervision officer
Participants can also complete an optional 5-Night Rewrite program. This course focuses on developing enhanced job skills and planning a lucrative future career. Those who finish this class can qualify for an additional 40-hour community service waiver.
The DA reports that thousands of young offenders have achieved record expunction since the diversion program came to Collin County in 2011. In April 2020, the office announced plans to further enhance the opportunities available through Burden to Blessing.