Section 17 Drug Cases

PA Drug Diversion Program: Section 17

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a city with a thriving nightlife and social scene. The city of Philadelphia also has several very esteemed colleges and universities. It is also a city with very nice areas as well as some not so nice areas.  Drug crimes are very common in all of these environments as arrests for drug possession, drug sales, drug delivery and drug manufacturing occur on a daily basis throughout Philadelphia regardless of age, race, education or socio-economic status.

A drug crime arrest can result in felony or misdemeanor charges. Both of which are extremely serious and warrant the help of a skilled and experienced Philadelphia drug crime defense attorney.

Misdemeanor Drug Charges In Philadelphia

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has it’s own controlled substances act. For those facing misdemeanor drug charges such as simple possession you may be eligible for Pennsylvania’s drug diversion program, which is known as the Section 17 program. It is named after Section 17 of PA’s Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device and Cosmetic Act.

Pennsylvania’s Section 17 Disposition Program

Under Section 17 the accused can avoid a misdemeanor drug conviction provided they plead guilty to non-violent drug offense. They may also need to prove drug dependence or drug addiction. The accused will plead guilty and be placed on probation for a certain amount of time, which is not to exceed the maximum amount of time for that particular offense.

Who Is Eligible For Section 17 Disposition Program

You may qualify for the Section 17 program unless you:

  1. Have previously been convicted of an offense under this act or similar act of the United States or any other state.
  2. Have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Pennsylvania or an equivalent crime under the laws of any other state.
  3. Have been placed on Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) where the person was charged with a violation of this act or the commission of a misdemeanor or felony in this Commonwealth.
  4. Have been charged with, or have plead guilty or nolo contendere to, multiple offenses which are based on separate conduct or arise from separate criminal episodes such that those offenses could be tried separately
  5. Have been designated as a dangerous juvenile offender

What Happens If You Do Not Complete All Conditions Of The Program

Just as with the ARD program, if for any reason you do not successfully complete all program obligations or violate any terms of probation, all bets are off. The court has the right to enter a judgment and proceed as they would with any criminal case.

What Happens Once The Section 17 Program is Completed?

Once the program is completed the courts will discharge you from the program and dismiss the charges against you. The Section 17 program is only a one-time deal and should you be arrested for a drug crime again you will face very severe legal consequences.

Let A Philadelphia Drug Crime Defense Attorney Help You

Having an experienced criminal defense in your corner during a situation as serious as this is a wise move as you have rights and they need to be protected. In addition, you stand a much better chance of getting granted entry into the program with the help of an attorney than you do on your own. The Pennsylvania legal system is very complex and one incorrect move when trying to represent yourself can end disastrously for you.

Contact the Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys at Jensen Bagnato, P.C. to discuss your Section 17 drug cases and learn how they can help you though this trying ordeal. As your attorneys they will get to know you personally as well as the details of your case. Armed with this information they will do their best to convey to the prosecution that you are a good person who may have suffered a lapse in judgment as that is often the case when drugs or alcohol are involved in an arrest.