Conditional Discharge in Georgia
Georgia has a great program called Conditional Discharge. It allows first-time drug offenders to take advantage of a probation program instead of going straight to jail. The goal of the program is to reduce recidivism and encourage defendants to change their behaviors. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug-related crime and it is the first offense, this is a great option. However, you still need assistance with presenting your case to the judge. That is where the Offices of Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys come in. They have over 50 combined years of experience and are extremely familiar with Conditional Discharge. Contact us today if you have been charged with a crime or have any questions about a conditional discharge.
Georgia Law O.C.G.A. §16-13-2 on Conditional Discharge
A person who has been convicted of a crime related to narcotic drugs, marijuana, stimulants, depressants, or hallucinogenic drugs may be placed on a probation program if both the defendant and court agree. The drug crime can be for directly using drugs, possessing drugs, or a property crime caused by the defendant's substance addiction or abuse.
Two important things to note about the Conditional Discharge program are that first, a suspect can only use this process once and second, it can only be used for drug-related crimes.
What does Conditional Discharge Entail?
How this plays out is that a person enters a guilty plea to the drug-related crime and the court imposes a sentence. However, the person is not considered “guilty” while they are serving a sentence. The defendant is then put on probation, which will not be longer for three years for a drug crime or five years for a property crime.
The aim of the program is to inform defendants of the ill effects of drug abuse and to provide them with knowledge of pros and cons that can be achieved by being a good member of society. Therefore, the program may require participation in a comprehensive drug rehabilitation program and medical treatment not to exceed three years.
What Happens After Completion of the Program?
After successful completion of all the program requirements, the court will dismiss the charges, and it will be as if the defendant was never convicted. However, a failure to comply with the terms of the program will force the Court to enter a guilty judgment and sentence the defendant up to the maximum sentence for the crime.
This is just a brief overview of conditional discharge. It is vital to your case that you seek the advice of an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney before you move forward or make any decisions about your case. Our office is here 24/7 including nights, weekends, and holidays. Contact us today to speak about your case.