Is a Conditional Discharge a Conviction

Conditional Discharge South Carolina

So here’s the problem, you’ve already made one mistake in your life and burned your get out of jail free card otherwise known as Pre-trial intervention (PTI).  PTI is limited to a once in a life-time.  Does this mean you are all out of options when facing a minor drug charge?  Is there no way out of a criminal record that can affect your ability to retain an apartment, get into higher education, or even prevent you from becoming or maintaining a job because the conviction will show up on your background check.  No, there is an alternative called conditional discharge, See §44-53-450, when facing first time drug charges.  Understanding that you may have several options available to you when facing drug charges means it is vital that you talk to a Charleston marijuana attorney.

Is Conditional Discharge a Conviction?

No, it is not, provided you successfully complete the program.  It looks a lot like a conviction when you go to court but without one very important factor.  The court accepts your guilty plea but it does not enter a sentence.  Instead, the court defers the sentence and places you on probation where you must complete the court’s requirements.  If you successfully complete the terms during probation then the court will dismiss the charge and you can expunge the arrest.

What happens if you fail to complete probation successfully?  The court will enter a sentence and conviction for guilt and imposes a sentence.  You cannot back out of the conditional discharge agreement at this point so you need to make sure that this is the right option for you an that you have the ability to successfully complete the program.

How do you qualify for a conditional discharge?

First, you cannot have a prior conviction for any type of drug crime including marijuana, crack, cocaine etc.  The key term is conviction.  If you have successfully completed PTI then you were not convicted of the charge so a conditional discharge is still an option and many times is your only option to get the case dismissed.

How much does this cost?

If you are charged with a summary level offense (Magistrate or municipal court) it will cost you $150 and no portion of the fee may be waived, reduced, or suspended unless the court determines the person is indigent.

If you are charged in General Session court then the cost of the program is $350 which is also non-refundable.

Can you get the charge expunged?

Yes, upon successful completion.  That is one of the huge benefits of entering into a conditional discharge (Conditional discharge form).  Once you have completed the probationary period you must petition the court to dismiss the charge against you.  That’s another reason to retain a Charleston Criminal defense lawyer, getting the case dismissed is only half the battle as you will want to have the arrest expunged from your background check so it does not affect your future job prospects.

Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug crime call an experienced and trusted Charleston criminal defense attorney at the Dale Savage Law Firm today for a free case consultation (843) 530-7813.

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