If you are facing drug charges for the first time, you're probably worried about the penalties a conviction can deal to you. You might be afraid of being sent to prison, being forced to pay devastating fines, and having your record marred for years to come. Although these could all be real possibilities, in many cases there are other options. One of these options is a Michigan program called discharge and dismissal.
Under Michigan law, a court can defer entering a judgment of guilt as to a first-time drug offender who has pleaded guilty or been found guilty of certain drug offenses, as long as the defendant agrees to enter into a probationary program that may include drug treatment. If the accused individual successfully complies with his or her terms of probation, then the court will dismiss the proceedings without a finding of guilt. This means no jail, no fines, and no public record. Those who violate the terms of probation may be adjudicated guilty and face sentencing.
For many Michigan residents facing drug possession charges, this is a viable option that allows them to avoid harsh penalties. The program does have limitations, though. For example, an individual can only take this opportunity once. If an individual who took advantage of it before is charged with another drug crime, then he or she will not be eligible for it again.
Those who want to learn more about discharge and dismissal and how best to approach their unique case may want to consider speaking with a Michigan criminal defense attorney of their choosing.
Source: Michigan Legislature, "Section 333.7411," accessed on Dec. 9, 2016