Like other big cities, the New Orleans metro area has a drug diversion program, run through the District Attorney’s office. This program allows people facing lower degree criminal charges that do not involve violence the opportunity to have drug charges or other qualified cases dismissed.

This program obviously offers a huge benefit to a Louisiana resident who wants to avoid the oftentimes severe consequences of even a misdemeanor criminal conviction. However, there are several things a person interested in this program needs to keep in mind.

First, the district attorney runs the program, and the district attorney ultimately gets to decide who does or does not qualify for the program. Perhaps more importantly, the program still requires people to go through several hoops, which some might compare to a form of criminal probation. In addition to paying a fee, a person will be expected to attend drug treatment, counseling and other training. Random drug tests should also be expected.

Finally, as with similar programs, this drug diversion program might not be the best fit for those who either do not believe they can complete it or who do not feel that they committed a crime in the first place. Being part of the diversion program may well be seen as the equivalent of pleading guilty to a crime, and failing the program may lead to a criminal conviction, along with additional penalties.

Even if it seems like a simple proposition, it is wise for a person to try to enter and then go through the diversion program with the help of an experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorney, as the rules of the program can be complicated and the consequences of not completing it serious. Furthermore, an attorney can be helpful for getting enrolled in the program in cases where someone’s eligibility is not clear.