What if I'm not a first-time offender?

Perhaps you’re not a first time offender and there’s a history of drug offenses. Maybe you had possession of marijuana back when you were in college, and a couple of years down the road you’ve gotten caught with something else. There’s a secondary diversionary program called Drug Core.

If you’re accepted to a particular program offered by Drug Core and you complete it, the charges against you will be dismissed. It is a much more intensive program. There is random drug testing and weekly meetings. It’s an opportunity for someone who’s made a second or third drug-related slip up to have that case dismissed, and not have a felony on their record. There are some options available to people specifically with drug charges.

Interviewer: How long is the resolution period for drug-related offenses?

Ladan Law: When a prosecutor is trying to evaluate what’s a fair resolution or course of action to the case, they’re trying to get a picture of somebody just from their criminal history and maybe the officer’s observations of their behavior at the time of their arrest. You’ve got very limited information and you’re trying to make a clear picture of what to do.

One of the tools that you have is a “rap sheet”. It goes back years. I’ve seen people with things on their rap sheet from the 1970’s and 1980’s. An experienced prosecutor is going to see that time frame and not see that as a continuing trend.

But prosecutors will reach a point when they feel that more strict intervention is required. If they’re seeing a pattern of drug use, drug abuse, perhaps shoplifting to support a drug habit, they’re going to paint a picture of who you are based on the information they have.

A real advantage to someone who hires an attorney is that their attorney can contact that prosecutor and give them more information about you as a person so that they can make an educated decision as to what’s needed to intervene in this particular case.

Not only is an attorney looking at the legal nuts and bolts of the criminal case, but they’re also advocating for you as a human being, a real person with real issues and complexities in their life. A good criminal defense attorney is going to combine those things. I can tell you first-hand from being on the prosecutor’s side, when you get more information about a defendant that is logical and makes sense and paints a clearer picture, it can influence what a prosecutor would ask for as far as sanctions.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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