The circumstances leading to criminal charges for drug possession can be complicated, and in many cases, they involve a history of substance abuse on the part of the alleged offender. The State of Wisconsin recognizes that treatment, education, and rehabilitation are often more effective responses to drug offenses than a harsh prison sentence. As such, the state allows a one-time conditional discharge and dismissal of charges for certain first-time drug offenders. This treatment option is an alternative to a prison sentence for offenders who are dependent on a controlled substance.
Some Wisconsin counties, including Milwaukee County, take these measures a step further by offering pretrial diversion programs for drug offenders. If you are facing drug charges, your attorney can help you understand whether you are eligible for one of these programs and take the necessary steps to fulfill your requirements.
Milwaukee County Diversion and Deferred Prosecution Programs
For criminal cases that fall under the jurisdiction of Milwaukee County, many defendants facing a variety of criminal charges have the opportunity to avoid conviction through an early intervention program. Eligibility for one of these programs depends in large part on the defendant’s scientifically assessed risk of re-offense. Those who are determined to have a low risk may qualify for Pretrial Diversion, which typically lasts for six months and requires the offender to fulfill certain requirements established by the court. Primarily, this includes avoiding committing another criminal offense, and it may also include measures meant to help the offender take accountability, such as the completion of community service and educational programs. If the offender fulfills these requirements, their charges will be dropped.
Defendants who are determined to have a moderate or high risk of re-offense may instead be eligible for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). A DPA allows the offender a certain period of time before sentencing, usually between six months and one year, to demonstrate that they can successfully abide by the law. The requirements that an offender must fulfill in a DPA are more substantial than in a diversion program, and they may include regular drug testing, electronic monitoring, and substance abuse treatment.
A diversion program or DPA may be available at the court’s discretion even if the offender has a prior criminal record. However, certain drug-related offenses are not eligible for diversion or deferred prosecution. This includes operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), distributing drugs for financial gain, or possessing amounts of a controlled substance above a specified threshold. For example, an offender charged with possessing at least 500 grams of marijuana or 5 grams of cocaine is ineligible.
Contact a Milwaukee County Drug Crimes Attorney
At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers will do everything in their power to help you avoid an unnecessary conviction and penalties for a drug-related offense. With our representation, you may be able to qualify for a diversion or deferred prosecution program and get the help you need for your substance abuse problem. Contact us today at 414-271-1440 for a consultation on your case.