Written by attorney George Wilmarth Nickel III

First Offenders Program in Wake County - Drug Education Program

Drug Education Program

  • This program allows for a dismissal of charges for first-time misdemeanor drug offenders.
  • Operated by Southlight
  • Call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel to see if you qualify!

Goals and Objectives

The program provides first time misdemanor drug offenders with education and life skills enabling them to abstain from substance abuse and avoid the bad effects of a criminal record

Eligibility Criteria

  • You must have one of the following charges (1) misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance within schedules II through VI, (2) possession of drug paraphernalia or (3) misdemeanor maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances.
  • You must be 16 years of age or older.
  • No evidence of selling drugs or distribution
  • No previous criminal record.
  • No prior participation in a deferral program.

Intake Procedure

  • Defendants are referred to the program by attorneys, prosecutors, judges and police.
  • The Prosecutor determines whether the defendant meets the criteria for the prorgam.
  • A representative from Southlight interviews the defendant and law enforcement officials involved with the case in order to determine eligibility.
  • If you qualify then prosecution is deferred for one year pursuant to NC GS 15A-1341(B)(2)
  • You will sit with someone from Southlight at the Courthouse. They will screen you to see if you qualify and help you complete the paperwork.


If you are accepted into this program you must satisfy all of these requirements in order to successfully complete the program:

  • You must admit your guilt
  • You must complete drug education classes conducted by Southlight (usually 15 hours) or any recommended treatment requirements.
  • You must pay the $250 program fee and also Court costs of approx. $188 to the Wake County Clerk of Court.
  • You must not be convicted of any misdemeanor or felony during the period of deferral.
  • If you are charged with something during that year you must resolve any new pending charges before you can complete the program.
  • You must remain in school or have a job during the course of the program.
  • You must submit to a drug test if they ask you to do one and you must also pay for the drug test.
  • you must abide by any reasonable request made by a Judicial Specialist


Southlight will supervise the program and be responsible for ensuring compliance with the terms of the deal.

Successful Completion/Termination

At the end of the one year term if you have completed all of the requirements and have kept out of trouble the charges will be dismised in open Court. If you are eligible for an expungement my law office can help to ensure that your charges are expunged so potential employers do not see this charge on your record.

Admission of Guilt!

Note that if you violate any of the conditions of the program or are convicted of any criminal offense during the program a judgment of guilt will be entered and a sentence will be imposed! By entering this program you are admitting your guilt and can be punished for that admission if you are convicted of a crime during the program or violate the conditions (i.e. failing a drug test among others).

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