Can felony drug charges be reduced for a first-time offender?

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Can felony drug charges be reduced for a first-time offender?

A 19 year old college student (no priors) has received class 6 felony charges – 1 drug paraphernalia charge; 1 marijuana charge. What are the steps to either having the charges dropped or reduced to misdemeanors? Additionally, what steps are needed to ensure that these offenses do not show up on any background checks? Should a criminal law attorney be consulted? In Tempe, AZ.

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

With skilled and experienced legal representation there is always the possibility of getting charges reduced, or even outright dismissed. Additionally, as a first-time offender, there is the chance of being granted "diversion." This is an alternative sentencing program whereby a person pleads guilty to a charge, receive a special probation, and upon its successful completion the charge is withdrawn and the case dismissed. The person will be left will a clean criminal record.  

 

It should be noted that, diversion is only allowed for first-time offenders.  This means that if a person gets into trouble again, it will not be available to them for any subsequent offenses.  That's why having a criminal lawyer defend against the initial offense is so critical. If they can get the case dismissed or win an acquittal at trial, the person will be eligible for diversion in the future if they should need it.

 


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