Drug charges, even low-level ones, can derail your future—especially job prospects. If you're charged with a drug crime, you face harsh criminal penalties. Luckily, the Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office—the chief prosecutor for Spartanburg and Cherokee counties—offers a program to help certain suspects get a fresh start, if they can qualify. It’s called the Solicitor’s Drug Intervention Program. Here’s an overview.
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t even apply unless the solicitor agrees to it. To be considered for the program, you can only be charged with:
- Simple Possession of Marijuana. That means 28 grams or one ounce at most.
- Possession of Controlled Substance I-V. This includes hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab) and benzodiazepines (benzos) like Alprazolam (Xanax), Clonazepam (Klonopin), Diazepam (Valium), and Lorazepam (Ativan). A resourceful defense lawyer can help you determine whether you’re charged with possessing a drug that falls into this category.
- Unlawful possession of a prescription.
Even if you’ve got more serious charges, don’t give up. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you might convince the prosecutor to downgrade the charges to let you in. Plus, you still might have other options to avoid a conviction, like conditional discharge.
The Application Process, Program Components, and Cost
If the solicitor lets you apply, it costs $100. After that, it takes about 6 weeks to find out if you’re accepted. If you are, you contact your case manager within 5 days to schedule an initial appointment.
Program Components. Basically, you should expect to do:
- Community service
- Substance abuse counseling
- Random drug screens
- A presentation by prisoners on how drugs and crime affected them and other people in their lives
- Written assignments
Cost. You’ll pay the following fees, which are small in comparison to the ultimate reward of completion:
- Participation fee - $250
- Drug screens - $25 per screen
- Education and counseling - varies
- Expungement - $250
- Filing fee for expungement order - $35
The Reward of Completion
Once you finish the program, the charges are dismissed and expunged, meaning they are removed from your record like you never got charged in the first place.
Getting in Requires an Invitation You’ve Got to Earn
Just because you’re eligible for the program doesn’t mean you’ll get in. You’ve still got to convince the prosecutor you’re a good candidate with a high probability for success. That’s where a skilled criminal defense attorney shines by bringing out facts in your background and defenses to your case that will get a skeptical prosecutor to give up a conviction and give you a chance.
To see if you’re eligible for this program or to start building a defense to protect your future, call toll free 888-230-1841 to schedule a free strategy session. If you’re wondering what it’s like to work with us, check out these reviews on a website we don’t own.