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How does a drug diversion program affect a conviction?

Michiganders who are hit with drug charges could be in for a difficult fight. Prosecutors aggressively pursue drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, and drug trafficking charges, often seeking the harshest penalties. Though failing to put forth an equally aggressive criminal defense could leave these individuals subject to jail, prison, fines, and years of adverse consequences, some drug offense penalties may be avoided by completing a drug diversion program.

According to Michigan law, those who have not been convicted of a prior drug offense but plead guilty or are found guilty of drug possession may come out of the ordeal without being adjudicated as guilty. However, to achieve such a result, the law stipulates that a criminal defendant might have to complete drug treatment and pay probation fees. Yet, if successfully completed, then the proceeding may be dismissed against the individual. If this is the result, then the matter becomes a nonpublic record.

However, it is worth noting that only one dismissal can occur. If an accused individual has been charged with a drug offense in the past, then the drug diversion program may not be an option for him or her. Additionally, only certain possession crimes are applicable to the drug diversion route, so it is imperative that those accused of drug possession know the law and how it applies to them.

Though entering a drug diversion program may keep harsher penalties at bay, it does not mean that those accused of drug possession should willfully await and accept a conviction. Instead, criminal defendant’s should consider speaking with a Kalamazoo criminal defense attorney who will help them assess their defense options and help protect their legal rights.

Source: Michigan State Legislature, “Public Health Code,” accessed on Feb. 20, 2015

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