Although many states are relaxing their laws as they pertain to marijuana possession, the war on drugs wages on. Both state and federal prosecutors still aggressively pursue those who they believe have broken the law, which can leave innocent individuals facing the potential for serious penalties, including extensive prison sentences and financially ruinous fines. However, depending on the facts of the case, certain criminal defense options may be available. Sometimes an individual may be able to suppress evidence and obtain an acquittal, but this isn't always a possibility.
When the evidence against an individual is too damaging to seek a full acquittal, plea bargaining may be necessary to consider. There are many tactics that a defendant can use in this situation, but perhaps one of the best is to try to enter into a drug diversion program.
New York currently has 141 drug courts, a significant number of which deal with the criminal justice system. Through these courts, those who are facing misdemeanor and felony drug charges where addiction has played a part may be able to have their case held off on while they enter treatment. If they are able to successfully complete this treatment, then the criminal charges against them may be reduced or dismissed entirely. More than 90,000 people have participated in this program, with about 40,000 successfully completing it.
Of course, not everybody who is charged with a drug crime is a drug addict, which is why those facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing need to discuss their unique set of circumstances with a criminal defense attorney of their choosing. Such an attorney may be able to give guidance and help devise a legal strategy that can fight back against aggressive prosecutors and, hopefully, lead to the avoidance of harsh penalties.