Diversion programs in Ft. Lauderdale drug cases can be useful to know about. Although there are certain charges and drugs that are available to diversion programs or alternative sentencings, it can still help to try to mitigate the consequences. An experienced drug lawyer can help prepare a defense and explain what you should expect.
Charges and Drugs Available to Diversion Programs or Alternative Sentencing
Any misdemeanor possession of marijuana or cannabis charge and most third-degree felonies, simple possession charges, and some exceptions to cases are available to diversion programs or alternative sentencing. There are two types of diversion programs for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
In order for a situation to be a misdemeanor case, the amount of the drug would be under 20 grams. The lower level or the Lower-Tier Diversion Program in Fort Lauderdale is called the Misdemeanor Diversion Program, and that is for true first time offenders. It is a three-month program that involves completion of community service, supervision, some court fees, drug monitoring and some drug counseling.
If an individual is not a first-time offender and is facing misdemeanor possession charges in Fort Lauderdale, they might qualify for a Second-Tier Diversion Program, which is called Misdemeanor Drug Court. This requires a longer period of supervision, instead of three months it is six months, and it involves a higher level of treatment and counseling. The result of completing the Misdemeanor Drug Court would be the same as completing the Misdemeanor Diversion Program. The government and the state attorney’s office in Ft. Lauderdale would drop the charges.
Pretrial Intervention Program
The first of two diversion programs is called a Pretrial Intervention Program which is a 12-month program. But the offense has to be a third-degree felony, which is the lowest level of felony. There are some cases that the state attorney’s office in Broward County and Ft. Lauderdale excludes from the Diversion Program. Specifically, they do not allow possession of heroin cases, possession of LSD, possession of methamphetamines, or possession of PVP. If it the case involves a possession of cocaine and the amount is half a gram or more, those types of cases are not allowed to go through the pretrial intervention route.
If an individual’s case in Fort Lauderdale qualifies for Diversion, a third-degree felony involving possession of a controlled substance not on the list, it is a 12-month period of supervision. If the individual remains free of any contacts in the criminal justice system, agrees to be supervised, and remains drug-free, the end result of the Pretrial Intervention Program would be the government dropping the charges.
All cases are treated individually with respect to drug offenses, diversion programs, and the Pretrial Intervention Programs. If there is any indication that the individual is or was a drug dealer, or involved in the economics of selling drugs, even though they were not charged with selling drugs, a prosecutor reserves the right to object to and keep that person from going through the Diversion Program.
The state attorney’s office in Ft. Lauderdale will not permit a defendant charged with a qualifying offense into the program when the facts or circumstances indicate the defendant was involved in dealing drugs. Anyone in the program is also subject to random drug testing. If individual tests positive while in the Pretrial Intervention Program, they can be eliminated or excluded from the Program.
Felony Drug Court
Compared to the misdemeanor courts, there is a second type of diversion program called Felony Drug Court. That is available for certain individuals that do have prior offenses on their record, but their record has to be fairly limited and cannot involve serious felony offenses. If a person is unable to complete the Pretrial Intervention Program or has a prior drug offense on their record, they would be eligible for the Felony Drug Court Program, which is similar to the Misdemeanor Drug Court. Instead of 6 months in Misdemeanor Court, however, it would be 12 months of fairly intensive counseling and treatment. There are three phases in the Felony Drug Court in Ft. Lauderdale, overseen by the drug court judges in Fort Lauderdale. It is another means for the defendant to get through a completed Diversion Program that would result in the dropping of a felony drug case in Fort Lauderdale.