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Drug charges do not necessarily have to mean a criminal record

Experimentation is the hallmark of youth. As young adults here in Louisiana and elsewhere attempt to find their place in the world, they can make mistakes that put them squarely in the sights of the criminal justice system. This does not necessarily mean that they will end up with a criminal record, which could affect their future endeavors such as going to college. First-time offenders often have other options that can keep their records clean and give them a chance to put the mistake behind them. This can happen with all sorts of issues, including drug charges.

Louisiana provides a number of programs that focus more on rehabilitation rather than punishment for first-time offenders. However, prosecutors may not be forthcoming with these options when it is your child facing the charges. One of those programs is the drug-court program.

This program requires the entry of a guilty or no contest plea. However, the charges can be dismissed after a specified amount of time, usually about 18 months, if certain requirements are fulfilled to the court's satisfaction. This ordinarily includes some sort of drug treatment program and no further suspicions of being involved in criminal acts during that time. Successful completion of this or another pretrial diversion program may also allow for the record to be expunged.

In order to know whether a pretrial diversion program is available for the drug charges your child faces, it would be a good idea to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your child's future may be on the line, and not having all the information could jeopardize it. You more than likely want your child to have the best opportunities possible as he or she moves forward in life, and one mistake or experimentation should not necessarily prevent that.

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Palazzo Law Firm
732 Behrman Hwy.
Suites F & G
Gretna, LA 70056

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