Section 17 Probation: Dismissing Drug Charges
A Section 17 Probation gives people accused of drug crimes the ability to avoid a permanent conviction by entering into a diversion program that, upon completion, will result in the charges being permanently dismissed. The name “Section 17 probation” comes from sub-paragraph 17 within the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act in Pennsylvania (the “Drug Act”).
Every county in Pennsylvania is permitted to have its own Section 17 program. Some counties have active programs that have more participants and result in a large number of defendants having their drug charges dismissed. Other counties are more restrictive with respect to Section 17 probation and do not have many drug defendants receive this disposition.
Section 17 Probation in Montgomery County
In Montgomery County, PA, Section 17 probation is a legitimate option for people charged with lower-level, possession drug offenses. In many relatively minor drug cases, this is the absolutely the best result because it gives people the opportunity to expunge the offense and regain a clean criminal record.
People charged with possession with intent to deliver (distribute) are not eligible for Section 17 probation. But people charged with possession of a controlled substance (such as marijuana, cocaine or even heroin) or drug paraphernalia can receive a Section 17 probation sentence.
Section 17 Probation Eligibility
If you are charged with a minor drug offense, such as possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia, you may be eligible for Section 17 Probation. However the district attorney will not simply hand you this result. You will need the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can demonstrate to the prosecutor that you are a good person who is deserving of a Section 178 probation disposition.
As an experienced Upper Dublin, PA criminal defense attorney, I am qualified to evaluate your case, explain your rights and options, and discuss with you whether you may be eligible for Section 17 Probation. Please feel free to contact the Law Office of Erik Petersen to discuss your case.
Terms and Conditions of Section 17 Probation
The terms and conditions of Section 17 Probation are negotiable and vary from case to case depending on the specific case details and whether the defendant has any addiction issues. For anyone charges with a drug crime, the stakes are always extremely high. It is important to work with an Abington criminal defense attorney who has experience in negotiating with prosecutors, is respected by prosecutors and judges, and has a reputation for obtaining positive results for clients.
Former Montgomery County, PA Prosecutor
Back in the 1990s, I was an Assistant District Attorney with the Montgomery County, PA District Attorney’s Office. I was stationed in the Major Crimes Unit and prosecuted many jury and non-jury (bench) trials. As a former prosecutor — and now a criminal defense attorney — I know what prosecutors look for in evaluating potential Section 17 cases and am prepared to properly advise clients about whether Section 17 Probation is right for them.
You can certainly count on me to protect your rights, advise you of all of your options, and help you earn a Section 17 disposition if you are eligible.
Pottstown Drug Charge Expungement Lawyer
Once you have successfully completed your Section 17 Probation, the charges will be legally dismissed. Once this has happened, it is important to have your drug charge expunged or erased from your criminal record.
Unfortunately, charges are not automatically expunged following a dismissal. To clear your record, you must go through a process called expungement. This requires filing a petition in Common Pleas Court in which you request that a judge sign an order requiring the various criminal agencies that have a record of the incident to expunge (destroy) the record and delete any information on databases.
I have helped many clients get their records expunged. Please feel free to contact the Law Office of Erik Petersen to discuss your expungement options.
DUI and ARD Program Lawyer Lower Merion
If you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), there is program similar to Section 17 Probation known as the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD Program). Please feel free to contact Upper Dublin Criminal Lawyer Erik Petersen to discuss whether the ARD Program may be right for you.
Abington Section 17 Probation Attorney
Please feel free to call me, Pottstown Pennsylvania Section 17 Attorney Erik Petersen to learn how I can help you address drug charges or any other charge you may be facing. As a former prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer for more 20 years, I am certainly qualified to help anyone charged with a crime.
I proudly represent those accused of criminal charges, DUI charges and drug crimes throughout Montgomery County, Pennsylvania including: Abington, Haverford, Cheltenham, Lower Merion, Upper Merion, Norristown, Pottstown, Plymouth Meeting, King of Prussia, Lansdale, Horsham, Upper Dublin, Blue Bell, Hatboro, Hatfield and Upper Providence, Pennsylvania.