If my son was arrested on 2 class A felonies, what arehis chances of being sentenced to rehab?

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If my son was arrested on 2 class A felonies, what arehis chances of being sentenced to rehab?

My 23 year-old son was arrested for Sale of a Controlled Substance and Conspiracy to Sell a Controlled Substance. His prior record is driving on suspended license; no prior drug offenses. He desperately needs drug rehab. He has been sick with bone disease for the past 5 years and on various medications. Could he get rehab only? A lawyer would be very expensive for these charges; afraid public defender won’t fight hard enough. He’s my only child and I’m scared to death for him. He’s a very smart kid who made a stupid, stupid choice.

Asked on January 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Most states offer an alternative sentencing programs; some call it "diversion"; some call it "deferred adjudication"; and others something else.  However, I don't know how his previous driving offense might affect things.  If he is eligible for a first-time offender program than after his sentence is served (this may well include rehab; no jail time), his criminal record would be cleared. However, this type of program is only available one time (i. e. for first offenses only).  Any subsequent offenses would have to be treated as most criminal offenses typically are -  including the possibility of jail time and a permanent criminal record.  If you retain a skilled defense attorney they might be able to get the charges dismissed on a technicality, win an acquittal at trial, or at least have one or both of the charges reduced.  Then diversion would be available to your son should he need it again in the future (hopefully not).

The fact is that anytime criminal charges are involved legal counsel should be retained.  And don't knock the PD's, they can be very effective advocates.  However, if you want to look elsewhere, since money is an issue for you, you could try and contact Legal Aid.  You could also check to see if there is a law school nearby; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Additionally, contact the local Bar Association in the county where the charges were brought; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your son's case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on his income/circumstances.


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