This is what first-time drug offenders need to know in Mississippi

If you have been caught with drugs or are accused of being in possession, you’re in a difficult position. You do have the option of defending yourself, and you should. Your life could change forever with a conviction, so it’s worth your time and effort to build a strong defense against those charges.

Something that your attorney should talk to you about as a first-time offender is that you may be able to go through a diversion program. A diversion program may help you have the case dismissed rather than ending up with a conviction. You may also be able to obtain help for a substance abuse disorder, if you have one, or work through other steps to avoid a conviction that could negatively impact your life and career.

Are there pretrial diversion options for first-time offenders in Mississippi?

In some cases, you may be able to go through a pretrial diversion class. This is a class on alcohol and drug awareness that will fulfill the state-mandated requirements. Pretrial terms that include going to this class may also require the first-time offender to go through an evaluation, treatment or other steps, too.

The interesting thing about Mississippi’s pretrial diversion program is that you don’t have to go in person. You can take the course online in different lengths. The court will tell you which program you have to choose. Many courts opt for an 8- or 12-hour program, but they can be as long as 36 hours in total.

What options do you have for a defense to the charges?

Your defensive options will depend on the charges you face and the evidence that the prosecuting attorney has to work with. If there is not much evidence and there were errors made during your arrest, then your attorney may have suggestions on how to reduce the likelihood of going to court. There may be options like seeking to lower the charges, asking to have them dismissed or taking a plea. Every case is different so you will need to discuss your specific situation before you decide on a defensive strategy.