Getting charged with a drug crime can not only result in serving time behind bars and/or costly fines, but also a permanent criminal record which can make it difficult to gain employment, find housing, apply for college, or take advantage of other opportunities in life. If it seems highly unlikely that your case will be dismissed due to the prosecution’s evidence against you, it is still possible to avoid harsh consequences.
Fortunately, counties throughout Wisconsin have implemented various programs to help non-violent offenders who abuse drugs or alcohol to avoid a criminal conviction. The main goal of these programs is to help those who are addicted to obtaining treatment and reduce the costs of prosecuting and incarcerating the individual.
There are two types of programs: diversions and Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs). While the programs have similar goals, they are completely different.
A diversion enables an individual arrested for a drug crime to avoid being charged entirely. This means he/she doesn’t have to step foot in a courtroom and even avoid having any record of the case.
The diversion program is monitored by a third-party agency for six months. Throughout that time, the individual must adhere to several conditions, including random drug tests, following treatment plans, going to therapy, completing community service, and paying restitution.
Once the diversion program is complete, the person won’t be criminally charged. Requirements for this program often include being a first-time offender and having a clean record. Drug crimes available for this program are typically low-level drug crimes, such as possession.
By contrast, a DPA enables an individual facing criminal charges to enter into a court agreement, where he/she must complete specific conditions in order to obtain case dismissal or reduced charges. To be eligible for such an agreement, a person must have a limited criminal record, plead guilty to the crime, and is willing to fulfill the agreement.
The main difference between a diversion and a DPA is that the latter is associated with a criminal charge at the beginning of the legal process. In other words, the DPA can appear on a criminal record. In addition, those participating in a DPA must appear in court.
The DPA also last six months and is associated with conditions like a diversion. However, even those who are charged with serious felonies can still obtain a DPA.
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Wisconsin, our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella is ready to fight for you. We can evaluate the circumstances of your case and determine whether you are eligible for a diversion or DPA.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.