A drug charge can cause a lot of upheaval in your life. There’s always the looming possibility of being sent to jail or prison, and the fines that are associated with many criminal convictions can leave you scrambling to make ends meet. That’s not to mention the effect a criminal record can have on your livelihood. It might make it extraordinarily difficult to find a job, secure housing, and even further your education.

A drug diversion program might protect your future

In California, many individuals who are charged with drug possession qualify for a diversion program. In short, individuals who enter the diversion program are given substance abuse treatment and education in hopes that they won’t renter the criminal justice system. If the program is successfully completed, then the pending underlying charges are dismissed, leaving your freedom and reputation protected.

It’s important to note that this program does have some restrictions as far as those who can participate. For example, the underlying charges can’t involve violence or some other serious drug crimes, like an intent to distribute. Also, an individual cannot qualify for the program if he or she has a relatively recent felony conviction. So, if you’re interested in the diversion program, then you’ll want to talk in more detail with your attorney to figure out if you qualify.

What if you fail to complete the diversion program?

If this happens, then the criminal charges simply won’t be dropped. That does not mean that you are automatically found guilty. This means that if you try diversion and are unsuccessful, then you still might have some criminal defense options available to you. But to determine your best course of action, you need to know the law and how to apply it favorably to the facts of your case. If this sounds daunting, then take comfort knowing that you have the option to have a criminal defense attorney guide you through the process.