Everything You Need to Know About Pennsylvania’s Section 17 Program

If you are a first-time drug offender in the state of Pennsylvania, the possibility exists for you to go through a process that will lead to the charges against you being dropped and your record being completely expunged. This is available through a program under Section 17 of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, which is also known as Probation Without Verdict or Section 17 probation. The rules regarding qualifications for this program are highly specific, but if you meet the eligibility rules it can provide you with a way to escape the negative impact that a drug conviction can have on your life. In order to apply for and gain entry into the program it is important that you work with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about Pennsylvania’s Section 17 program. The attorneys at Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law have a long record of successfully helping clients through this process.

Pennsylvania’s Section 17 program was created to provide a path for those who are dependent upon drugs. Because of this, you must be able to prove this dependency and you must be a first-time offender, without any prior drug offense convictions, felonies or misdemeanors or similar charges on your record. The program requires that the accused person pleads either guilty or nolo contendere to the charge and provides testimony from either a doctor or psychologist trained in substance abuse. Once accepted into the program, probation will be established for a period that is not to exceed the maximum amount of time appropriate to the offense.

Most importantly, after you have been accepted into the Probation Without Verdict program and have successfully completed the probationary period, you are able to go back to the courts and have all record of the original arrest legally erased from your records. Administering this second part of the process is just as important to your long-term future as having been accepted into the program in the first place, and it is essential that you are represented by an attorney who has experience in petitioning the court for expungement, obtaining the order that all criminal records be destroyed and erased, and then following up to ensure that it has properly been done.

Pennsylvania’s Section 17 probation program offers those who have been charged with a drug crime for the first time a second chance at life. People who have substance abuse problems often underestimate the impact that a drug record can have on their future. Beyond health and social concerns, there are many career paths that can be closed to those who can’t pass criminal background checks or security clearance – the Section 17 program gives you the opportunity to sweep your record clean.

If you or someone you love is a first time drug offender and you would like to learn more about how the law firm of Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law can help, contact our office today.