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Diversion alternatives for first time drug offenders

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

The Texas court system is serious about prosecuting drug use and trafficking within its jurisdiction. The geographical proximity to Mexico alone is enough to create a serious smuggling concern. But state prosecutors also understand that a small amount of usage is much different than investigating and prosecuting drug rings dealing in major amounts of contraband. The concept that the penalty should fit the crime indeed applies in Texas drug cases when individuals are arrested with small amounts. And it can apply with serious contraband such as methamphetamine in certain instances. The legal term for this process is pretrial diversion.

How diversion works

A conviction on a drug charge can impact a defendant’s life for many years to come. It can cause denial of employment and housing as well as restrict eligibility for government benefits for many. Avoiding a conviction is always the best criminal defense strategy regardless of how it is reached, and successfully completing a pretrial diversion program can be more effective than attempting to win a trial verdict of not guilty in many cases.

Diversion eligibility

Diversion often only applies to first-time offenders, as there are some specific requirements in order to qualify. But that is not always the situation. There can be no pending criminal cases that currently have not been adjudicated and should be diverted first. In terms of prior conviction, anyone with two or more prior felonies on their record are not eligible. This can be a significant factor as part of a diverted criminal defense, as a second charge can still be diverted. Elected officials who have been charged criminally when violating public trust are ineligible along with any determined risk to national security.

Pretrial diversion is actually one of the most effective methods of adjudicating the many drug cases prosecuted in Texas. It gives the state and defendants alike an avenue to settle legal matters that may not always be criminal issues in fact.