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Diversion can be an option for those charged with drug crimes

Drug crimes in Memphis are common. Thousands of people face minor drug charges each year and being convicted on these charges can have serious consequences. A criminal record can be devastating for a person's professional and personal reputation. A diversion may be an option for those who are facing drug charges and do not have an existing criminal record.

In Tennessee there are two types of diversion. The first is judicial diversion. This is when the defendant pleads guilty to the crime and the court places the person on supervised probation. As long as the person complies with the probation they will not be found guilty of the crime and the case will be dismissed.

The second type of diversion is a pre-trial diversion. This is where the defendant reaches an agreement with the prosecuting attorney. The defendant must agree to the terms of the probation and if they successfully complete the probation they will have the case dismissed and the prosecutor will not pursue the case.

In order for a defendant to be eligible for diversion, they must not have a criminal record and the crime they committed cannot be a felony, DUI, or sexual offense. After a person successfully completes their probation period they submit a petition in order to have their record expunged of the crime. If a person is facing a misdemeanor drug charge or similar criminal charge they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in criminal law. An attorney can review the defendant's options and make sure their legal rights are being met.

Source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, "Diversions, expungements and dispositions", accessed on Apr. 4, 2015

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