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At ChancoSchiffer P.C. we know that drug abuse takes a heavy toll on family. We also understand that Georgia has some of the strictest drug laws in the country, and a conviction can mean years behind bars. We want to help first-time offenders who need treatment to avoid jail and find a path to recovery. Our substance abuse attorneys have extensive experience with all types of drug possession cases. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges for the first time, our team will investigate your case to determine if diversion is an available option.
Substance abuse is a serious issue in the United States. The opioid epidemic is a clear sign that drugs are wreaking havoc across the country. When people struggle with addiction, the effects can be devastating for their families in many ways, including legal punishments. If a loved one is suffering with substance abuse, there is a high likelihood that he or she could get into legal trouble. If a police officer finds someone with illegal drugs, he or she could face significant fines, jail time, and other penalties.
Drug possession is a serious crime in Georgia, but the state recognizes the fact that diversionary programs are often more successful than jail time for many first-time offenders, particularly juveniles. Prison overcrowding is also a serious problem in this country and many first-time offenders will have the opportunity to complete a diversionary program in lieu of prison time, under certain conditions. It’s important to note that other factors, such as intent to sell and distribution, can incur harsher penalties. But for a person struggling with addiction and a recent arrest, diversion into a rehabilitation program can be life-saving.
Prison is not a conducive environment for addiction recovery. Many inmates turn to drug use to cope with the stress of prison by obtaining contraband drugs on the inside. To qualify for Georgia’s first-time offender leniency, the defendant must have no prior convictions for drug-related crimes, no record of past diversionary program participation, and must not be facing additional charges.
The judge will determine an appropriate diversionary program for a qualifying defendant, and such a program will generally involve completion of a drug rehab program, counseling, probation, community service, and civil penalties. For example, a judge may compel a drug user to pay restitution to anyone his or her actions may have harmed in the past.
If a defendant qualifies for diversion, the defense attorney will work closely with the judge hearing the case to determine an appropriate program. During this process, the defense attorney may need to call on the defendant’s relatives and friends to help build a case for credibility. Friends and family can attest to the defendant’s substance abuse history and explain why diversion and treatment would be more constructive than fines and jail time.
Relapsing could lead to more severe penalties in the future. It’s imperative to take drug counseling and rehab seriously to get clean, stay clean, and avoid relapse and future conviction. After receiving a sentence for diversion, a defendant will face significantly harsher penalties for a similar charge in the future. It’s very easy for addiction to lead to repeat arrests and very long prison time, so diversion to rehab and treatment is essentially an ultimatum from the court to get clean or face the full force of the law.
Substance abuse is a serious issue in the United States. The opioid epidemic is a clear sign that drugs are wreaking havoc across the country. When people struggle with addiction, the effects can be devastating for their families in many ways, including legal punishments. We can also help manage your filings with the court, restitution arrangements, and any other legal issues you face after a drug-related arrest. Contact our Atlanta office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.