A drug offense conviction could haunt you for the rest of your life, particularly when applying for employment. Virginia offers a unique option for some first-time drug possession offenders, known as the “251 program” or the Marijuana Diversion Program. If you have been arrested for a drug-related offense in Fairfax, Virginia, consider the following information about the 251 deferred disposition program, and do not hesitate to reach out to a skilled attorney for help today.
What is Virginia’s 251 Deferred Disposition Program?
First, Virginia’s 251 Deferred Disposition program is only available to first-time offenders for marijuana possession. Per the program, the court will dismiss the marijuana conviction charges of first-time offenders when the probationary period is over. This program is discretionary, meaning that Virginia Courts are not obligated to dismiss the charges of first-time offenders.
What Do I Need to Do to Get My Charges Dismissed Under the Diversion Program?
The requirements of the 251 diversion program are stringent. A participant must meet every requirement to have their charges dismissed upon completion of probation. If a participant fails to meet any one condition, the court will revoke the 251 program, and the judge will sentence the participant accordingly.
The successful participant must meet the following requirements:
- Complete routine drug testing;
- Finish court-ordered community service. The amount of mandatory community service ranges from at least 24 up to 100 hours;
- Complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), which usually costs around $300.
Furthermore, the state will suspend each participant’s driver’s license for at least six months, and the court will place the participant under mandatory supervised probation (typically 12 months).
It is imperative that a defendant only agrees to participate in Virginia’s 251 diversion program if they are serious about completing every one of the requirements listed above. Courts may impose harsher sentencing if a participant fails to complete the 251 programs than the participant might have received if they had reached a plea bargain agreement.
In some cases, the diversion program may not be the best option for our clients. For example, this may be the case if the police did not have probable cause to search your person, home or vehicle, they executed an illegal search and seizure. Any evidence gained from that search will be inadmissible at trial. In this situation, it might be better for your attorneys to argue for your case to be dismissed. Ultimately, it is always in your best interest to contact an attorney for professional guidance.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If the state has charged you with a first-time drug possession offense and you are unsure of what to do moving forward, we request that you contact us immediately. The 251 diversion program may seem like a helpful choice, but an experienced Virginia drug possession attorneys can discuss the positive and negative aspects of all of your options with you. We have handled numerous drug crime cases and know how to fight hard for the best outcome for our clients. Call or contact Whitestone Young, P.C. today and let us begin working on your case immediately.