Being accused of a drug crime could mean facing harsh penalties. This is the hardest part of dealing with these allegations; facing the possible consequences if a conviction is reached. However, depending on the circumstances, defendants have options regarding defenses and ways to reduce the penalties even if a conviction results. Thus, it is important to be well informed on programs available to those accused of drug crimes.

In Louisiana, drug diversion programs are offered to nonviolent offenders. This program is designed to meet the needs of these offenders, helping them and attempting to deter them from future criminal behaviors. The program also serves as a way to minimize the loss caused to victims through the payment of restitution by the offender and protecting the community by keeping a close eye on these offenders.

If an individual qualifies for the drug diversion program as an alternative to prosecution, he or she will receive coordinated assistance through personal and group counseling based on their needs, such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation. In order to be eligible for this program on must meet certain criteria. This includes being accused of a nonviolent crime, being between the ages of 17 and 25, paying restitution when required, being drug tested, go through counseling, no continuing pattern of criminal behavior, acknowledge that he or she did the wrongdoing accused of and show a good faith willingness to participate in the program.

No matter what type of crime a person is accused, he or she fears what penalties await them if conviction results. While a strong defense could help those accused of a drug crime avoid conviction and criminal penalties, it is important to note other options, such as a diversion program, that are available to you.

Source: 25thda.org, “DA Diversion Programs,” accessed Sept. 24, 2017