What is drug diversion?
Drug diversion is a program that has been set up to try to tackle illicit drug use in its early stages and prevent further drug offences from occurring. It is an education and drug assessment program that minor drug offence defendants who have pleaded guilty can sometimes be ordered to attend. This rehabilitation gives the defendant the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction and start fresh.
Who is eligible for the program?
Whether or not a defendant will be ordered by the court to participate in the program or not depends on the nature of the offence they have been charged with (as only minor drug offences are eligible) and their past criminal history. The types of minor drug offences that might be considered for this program include:
- Unlawful possession of a dangerous drug (for personal use only)
- Possession of things connected to the personal use of dangerous drugs
- Possession of things used in connection with the administration, consumption or smoking of a dangerous drug.
An individual’s participation in the program may be beneficial because they will not have a conviction recorded for the offence, and will participate in an educational session that could help to reduce their chances of reoffending in the future.
Who is not eligible?
The drug diversion program offers people the opportunity to receive professional help rather than proceeding through the regular court process. This means people are not eligible if they have current pending charges or a conviction of an offence related to drugs or if they have previously completed two drug diversion programs.
What does the drug diversion program involve?
The drug diversion program is usually about 2 to 2.5 hours in length and involves counselling, drug education and assessment sessions. During this time, attendees are encouraged to fully disclose their drug usage confidentially to enable the professionals to better assist them.
The court is not made aware of anything that is discussed during the program and are only provided with information about the defendant’s attendance or lack of. If the defendant fails to attend this program they have been ordered to attend, they will be required to attend court and will be re-sentenced for their original offence, often with some serious penalties enforced and a conviction.
More information on drug diversion and criminal law
If you have been arrested for, or charged with a drug offence, have been offered police diversion and are not sure what to do, or failed to attend the drug diversion program, you should seek urgent legal advice. Our team of qualified lawyers have extensive experience in criminal law and are available to discuss any questions you have about the Drug Diversion Program.