Can felony drug charges be reduced for a first-time offender?

UPDATED: Jun 15, 2011

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Can felony drug charges be reduced for a first-time offender?

A 19 year old college student (no priors) has received class 6 felony charges – 1 drug paraphernalia charge; 1 marijuana charge. What are the steps to either having the charges dropped or reduced to misdemeanors? Additionally, what steps are needed to ensure that these offenses do not show up on any background checks? Should a criminal law attorney be consulted? In Tempe, AZ.

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Criminal Law, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

With skilled and experienced legal representation there is always the possibility of getting charges reduced, or even outright dismissed. Additionally, as a first-time offender, there is the chance of being granted "diversion." This is an alternative sentencing program whereby a person pleads guilty to a charge, receive a special probation, and upon its successful completion the charge is withdrawn and the case dismissed. The person will be left will a clean criminal record.  


It should be noted that, diversion is only allowed for first-time offenders.  This means that if a person gets into trouble again, it will not be available to them for any subsequent offenses.  That's why having a criminal lawyer defend against the initial offense is so critical. If they can get the case dismissed or win an acquittal at trial, the person will be eligible for diversion in the future if they should need it.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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