A conviction on drug charges in Wisconsin will usually lead to jail time and expensive fines, but the even more damaging result of such convictions is the fact that you’ll now have a criminal record. A criminal record will show up in any future background checks and could make it difficult for you to find housing, get a job, enter college, or even see your children. If you are facing drug charges and a conviction looks likely, but you are a non-violent or first-time offender, the prosecution may offer you an alternative to jail.
There are two programs that Wisconsin counties use to help non-violent drug offenders avoid criminal convictions: diversion programs and a deferred prosecution agreement. Both programs aim to help offenders obtain treatment for their addiction to prevent future relapses and reduce the time and money spent by the county on prosecuting and incarcerating the offender. Although a diversion program and a deferred prosecution agreement may have similar goals, they go about meeting those goals in different ways.
These programs are specific to the individual and are monitored by third-party agencies. For 6 months to 2 years, the offender will have to agree to several conditions which may include: random drug testing, adhering to a specified treatment plan, going to therapy, community service work, and paying restitution.
Upon completion of the program, the offender will not be criminally charged or existing charges will be dismissed. Eligible offenders are typically first-time offenders and those with a clean record. Diversion programs are most often used for minor or low-level drug crimes such as possession, but can also be available for non-violent felonies.
A deferred prosecution agreement is slightly different. Offenders enter into an agreement with the court, which sets out specific conditions that must be met. If those conditions are met within the agreed upon 6 month to 2 years timeframe, the charges will be dismissed. Conditions are usually very similar to those required of the diversion programs.
Eligible offenders have limited criminal records, plead guilty to the charges, and are willing to meet the terms of the agreement.
The difference between these programs and diversion programs is that prosecution for the crime is “deferred” to a future date. Offenders will be charged with a crime at the beginning of a deferred prosecution agreement, but the prosecution does not move forward with those charges at that time. Instead, the offender is given 6 months to 2 years to “clean up their act”, so to speak. If they do and meet all of the criteria set forth by the agreement, the prosecution will then decide whether to reduce or drop the charges based on the offender’s actions and performance under the agreement.
If you are facing drug charges in Wisconsin, do not give up hope and do not try to fight the charges by yourself. Contact a criminal defense attorney from Eisenberg Law Offices for help. We can advocate on your behalf to reduce charges or alternatives to jail, such as a diversion program or deferred prosecution agreement.
Schedule a free case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing Info@eisenberglaw.org.
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