Eligibility for Ohio Drug Diversion Programs
Drug-related convictions account for a large percentage of criminal cases in Ohio. The drug diversion program was implemented to help decrease the caseload in criminal court by giving certain first-time offenders a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. More accurately, the diversion program offers a “Stay Out of the Criminal Justice System if You Meet Certain Obligations” card.
Typically, eligibility for a diversion program includes the following:
- Non-violent misdemeanor charge
- No prior criminal record
- Willingness of defendant to accept responsibility for the illegal activity
Pursuant to this last point, participants in the diversion program are required to enter a guilty plea and waive the right to a trial. If they successfully fulfill all the obligations required by the court, the drug charges will be dropped. These obligations may include attendance in a drug treatment or education class, community service and random drug testing.
Participants must also agree to pay a fee to help cover the cost of supervision services, usually set at $150. They may also be asked to pay for drug treatment classes, drug testing and related court expenses.
Ohio prosecutors are encouraged to steer good candidates into diversion programs to free up the trial docket, but they can also use their discretion to deny this opportunity to a defendant. This is why it is so important to have a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at your side, defending your legal rights and presenting your side of the story in a fair manner. Experienced attorneys can assess whether you are eligible for a drug diversion program, and if so, they will take all necessary steps to ensure you get this chance to keep a drug charge off your record.