Dysart Willis
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En Español : 919-747-3276
Arabic : 252-654-4852
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Effective programs for first-time drug or alcohol offenders

The state of North Carolina has some innovative and effective solutions for first-time drug or alcohol offenders that mitigate the types of penalties they normally face.

Penalty deferment is one of the options, and another is the Misdemeanor Diversion Program.

Helping those who make a mistake

People charged with first-time misdemeanors or felonies face harsh penalties that will adversely affect their lives. Many have families, attend college or hold down responsible jobs, and in general, are good citizens and members of their community. The state of North Carolina recognizes that a single mistake such as driving under the influence of alcohol, for example, should not necessarily draw the traditional penalties

About deferrals

The court can defer the penalties for a first-time misdemeanor offender if he or she completes 75 hours of community service and has no further entanglements with the law for six months. A first-time felony offender must complete a community service program of 225 hours and have no further legal issues for at least 12 months. The court may also order those facing drug charges to participate in treatment programs and submit to random drug testing.

About the MDP

North Carolina is one of only two states in the country in which the criminal justice system views a 16-year-old as an adult. However, teenagers are immature and impulsive. They make mistakes. Knowing this, various counties in North Carolina have instituted programs to help first-time offenders who are minors. In Durham, for example, the court might order first-time 16- and 17-year-old offenders to participate in a community-based "Misdemeanor Diversion Program." In addition to providing community service, the teens must attend one court session during which they learn about the consequences of a criminal arrest. The MDP has been so successful that in 2015, a program known as "Adult MDP" was added for the benefit of 18- to 21-year-old first-offenders.

Looking ahead

An arrest for a criminal offense can be frightening and a penalty such as serving time behind bars alarming. Deferral and misdemeanor diversion programs provide alternatives to stiff penalties such as jail time to help keep one mistake from adversely impacting the life of a first offender.



Our Results

  • Client was charged in federal court with the felony offense of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. After negotiation with the US Attorney's Office, the felony gun charge was dismissed and our client...

  • Our client was charged with statutory rape and faced mandatory registration as a sex offender if convicted. We were able to work with a forensic expert and the district attorney's office to negotiate a guilty plea..

  • Client charged with Felony Assault on a Police Officer, misdemeanor assault, and resisting an officer. After a jury trial where multiple police officers testified about the incident, our client was found not guilty ..

  • Client investigated by federal law enforcement for possessing child pornography. Ryan began representing the client during the investigation and ultimately the client was not charged with any crimes...

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Super Lawyers Board Certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar | Federal / State Criminal Law
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Raleigh Office:
507 N. Blount Street
Raleigh, NC 27604

Toll Free: 800-599-4428
Phone: 919-741-4825
Fax: 919-882-1222
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1108 Dabney Drive
Henderson, NC 27536

Phone: 252-776-0069
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Statewide Criminal Defense