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What is a drug diversion program?

Drug charges are still very common in Tennessee. These offenses, just like others, fall on a sliding scale of severity. Some individuals are faced with allegations of drug trafficking, which can result in years or even decades behind bars if convicted. Others, though, are only accused of minor drug charges, such as possession. In these instances, and when it looks like an individual may not prevail at trial, it may be wise to consider alternative resolution options.

One option may be a drug diversion program. There are type types of diversion: pre-trial and judicial. Pre-trial diversion, in the drug context, occurs when the prosecution agrees to allow a defendant to enter into some sort of treatment in exchange for a suspended prosecution of the charges. If the agreed upon drug diversion program is completed, then the charges may be dropped. If the diversion program is unsuccessful, then the prosecution can take the matter to trial and, by obtaining a conviction, try to impose penalties such as jail time and fines.

Judicial diversion is different. Here, a defendant is either found guilty or pleads guilty to an offense, but agrees to enter into some type of diversion program in exchange for a suspension of the penalties. If the program is completed successfully, then the penalties will go away. If an individual is unsuccessfully discharged from the program, then he or she will likely have to face the full extent of the penalties imposed upon conviction.

Diversion isn't an option in every case, but it serves as an example of one of the criminal defense options that may be available to an individual who is facing allegations of having committed a drug crime. Those who want to learn more about their criminal defense options and how best to craft a legal strategy may want to discuss their situation with a qualified legal professional. Becoming more informed about your criminal defense options can help ensure you take appropriate steps to protect your rights and interests.

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