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What are drug diversion programs?

If you are charged with misdemeanor charges for the possession of marijuana in a Maryland District Court and are a first-time offender with either no criminal record or a limited one, you may be able to complete a diversion program. When this occurs, you'll be able to avoid the prosecution process and, ultimately, a mark on your criminal record. Upon successful completion of the program, charges could be dropped, and the case may not face prosecution. It's the decision of the Office of the State's Attorney if you're eligible for a diversion program.

Avoiding a criminal record through a diversion program

If you're not successful with the diversion program, it could have a severe impact on the rest of your life - you will face prosecution which could result in a criminal record. The limiting effect a drug charge can have on your life include, for example, the inability to get into grad school or, if this is your goal, get a government job. If you were working in a medical or nursing degree program, a drug charge could mean the inability to obtain your license.

No matter who you are, a criminal charge is a big deal. For college students, the consequences can be even more harsh. If you are convicted of a drug crime, you could lose your eligibility for federal financial aid.

It is for these reasons that participation in a drug diversion program is important. In Maryland, you may qualify for a drug diversion program if:

1. You've been charged with possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, and

2. This is your first offense.

As part of the diversion program's requirements, you'll be required to either attend a six-hour class or participate in 24 hours of community service. You will also be subject to random urinalysis, and you must remain drug-free. Another requirement is that your previous record must be minimal and must not contain any convictions for DUI.

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