If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a drug offense, one option the judge has is to sentence you to a conditional discharge. If the judge granted this less serious punishment, you would be placed on probation for a certain length of time and must follow all the conditions set by the court. At the end of your probation, your case would be dismissed if you successfully completed it.
When Can You Obtain a Conditional Discharge for a Drug Offense?
There are special rules under N.C.G.S.90-96 when a person is eligible for a conditional discharge in a drug crime case. Under subsection (a), defendants could be granted this relief for the following offenses:
- Misdemeanor possession of a Schedule I-VI controlled substance
- Felony possession of a controlled substance
- Misdemeanor possession of drug or marijuana paraphernalia
In addition, a defendant must meet these requirements:
- Have no prior felony convictions
- Have no conviction under Article 5 of N.C.G.S. Chapter 90
- Have never received a conditional discharge under 90-96 or 90-113.14
A conditional discharge under subsection (a) is mandatory if the defendant consents to it unless the court determines upon the written objection of the prosecutor that they should not receive this remedy for reasons associated with their crime.
A judge also has the discretion to grant a conditional discharge under subsection (1a) of N.C.G.S. 90-96. Any prior convictions and prior conditional discharges that are more than seven years old would not count in determining a defendant’s eligibility for this type of dismissal. These conditions must be met:
- The defendant must be placed on probation for a minimum of one year.
- The defendant must enroll in and complete an approved drug counseling program within 150 days of being placed on probation unless there is no school is available or there are other extenuating circumstances.
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