Many jurisdictions offer pretrial diversion for misdemeanor marijuana possession. A lawyer can help make sure your case is considered for the program. Successful completion of a pretrial diversion program will generally result in the charges being dismissed and the possibility of the arrest being expunged from your record. In addition, you will not face the mandatory license suspension. Entry into the diversion program is at the sole discretion of the prosecutor.
OCGA 16-13-2 offers the ability to plead guilty to a drug offense, and some non-drug offenses, and not face a license suspension. The discharge is conditioned upon your successful completion of your sentence and rehabilitation program. The judge sentences you but the conviction is stayed until the completion of your sentence. This is a great way to resolve a felony drug case and prevent a felony from being on your record. An attorney can evaluate your particular case to see if it will qualify. Entry of this type of plea is subject to the approval of the judge.
First Offender Act
Georgia allows any first time offenders to enter a plea under the first offender act for most felonies and all misdemeanors, except DUI. Like conditional discharge discussed above, first offender treatment can be used to prevent a conviction and to avoid mandatory license suspension. The downside for first offender cases is that a violation of the sentence can result in a judge re-sentencing you up to the maximum provided by law.
For example, a felony drug offense may have a 15 yr maximum sentence, and the judge originally sentenced you to 5 yrs on probation under first offender. A violation in year four could result in the judge re-sentencing you up to 11 more years, which could be served in custody and not on probation. An attorney can help you decide if your case will qualify for first offender treatment. Entry of a first offender plea is subject to approval by the judge and often times the consent of the prosecutor.
Additional resources provided by the author
If you need additional information about the consequences of a drug or other criminal conviction feel free to contact my office for a free consultation.
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