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An overview of North Carolina's jail diversion program


It is not easy to face drug charges. Being accused of a drug crime tends to immediately impact a person's personal and professional life. Thus, taking immediate action can be imperative, because sometimes a deal can be worked out. Such a deal could provide the accused with the option to avoid jail time. Programs have been designed to help reduce the prison populations, while also helping those with substance abuse problems. These programs are known as jail diversion programs.

What is a drug diversion program? In North Carolina, they provide a jail diversion program as an alternative to incarceration for those arrested and jailed because of a mental illness. The idea is that a person is not jailed because of their illness and they receive treatment for their illness.

In the state of North Carolina, the jail diversion program is designed to help those with a serious mental illness, are in jail for minor charges, are willing to agree to receive treatment for their mental illness and are not considered a risk to the public if they are released from jail. Thus, this program is not for those that do not have a mental illness, are no currently in jail, are not willing to cooperate with treatment for their mental illness, are a significant risk to the safety of the public or have been charged with a very serious crime.

In some cases, a defendant could enter a diversion program without having to give a guilty plea. These options are ideal, giving the defendant the ability to have their criminal record clear of that charge. Thus, it is important to understand if a diversion program is available to you. A legal professional will be able to give an assessment of your situation, helping you understand what defense options are right for you.

Source: Ncdhhs.gov, "Jail Diversion," accessed Jan. 14, 2018

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