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By Benson Varghese

Published on: September 9th, 2020 at 11:28 AM
Last Updated: September 22nd, 2020 at 10:48 AM

What is the Tarrant County YODA Program?

The Tarrant County YODA Program is a diversion program for young people who have been charged with assaulting a non-intimate family member, such as a parent or a sibling. YODA – which stands for Youthful Offender Diversion Alternative –  is designed to prevent young offenders from committing future acts of violence by redirecting them towards non-violent behavior. Youth who successfully complete the program will have their case dismissed and be eligible for an expunction.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for the Tarrant County YODA Program?

To be eligible for the Tarrant County YODA program, you:

  • Must be a first-time offender
  • Must be age 17 to 25 at the time of enrollment
  • Cannot be on probation or parole
  • Cannot have other pending charges
  • Cannot have pending felony charges or convictions of felony charges
  • Must be willing to make changes in your life and participate in counseling
  • Must be willing to adhere to the attending policy and participation rules
  • Must be willing to be sober and drug-free

How Do You Get into the the Tarrant County YODA Program?

Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 5 is the speciality court that handles family violence cases. YODA staff and court personnel work closely to identify youthful offenders who may be eligible for the program and will often present information about the program to the defendant’s lawyer. Tarrant County defense lawyers who regular practice in CCC 5 also are familiar with the program and can refer their clients to the program. Not all youth are offered the option of entering the program. The lawyers, prosecutors and judge decide if they will be given the choice to enter the program based on prior offenses, attitude and willingness to change. Defendants who are given the voluntarily option of entering into YODA are generally presented with alternative plea deals negotiated by their lawyers. If they chose to go with the plea and join the program, they are provided with information about the requirements and completing the program.

What Does YODA Entail?

The YODA program is a three phase approach using assessment, case management and individual and family solutions. The program is managed and services are provided by a licensed clinical social worker who has speciality in trauma and abuse. The hope is that, by undergoing individual and family counseling and identifying specific needs, defendants can stabilize their lives and utilize resources that encourages family development. This is a strengths-based and solutions-oriented program where defendant will establish goals to help them move away from future crimes and violence. Family members will be ask to support the youth.

How long is the YODA Program?

The YODA program typically last four to six months, but it can be extended if participants are experiencing issues.

What is the OBI WAN Program?

OBI WAN — which stands for Other Behavioral Intervention With Assault Non-Family — is a spin-off of the YODA program. It basically works the same way as YODA except it is offered for defendants with simple assault cases against non-family members.

Interested in YODI or OBI WAN? Contact Us.

The attorneys at Varghese Summersett have vast experience handling family violence cases with exceptional results for our clients. Many of our clients have had their cases dismissed after completing the YODA program. For more information on how we can help you, call our team today for a free consultation.