Pretrial intervention program prevents drug trial

When does a request to purchase a souvenir lead to a criminal investigation? When the souvenir requested is prescription drugs - which ultimately lead to misdemeanor drug charges for a retired University of Georgia professor. Instead of enduring a lengthy trial, the man charged decided to utilize an alternative court program.

The ordeal began when the retired professor allegedly asked a student to purchase prescription drugs for him, while she was in Mexico for spring break. Instead of buying the drug, the student reported the former professor to a faculty member. The faculty member then informed authorities. This information resulted in a search of the man's campus office by local police. During the search, police found one bottle of prescription pills in the man's briefcase.

The bottle of prescription pills led to the following charges: criminal attempt to obtain a dangerous drug through fraudulent means and three counts of possession of prescription drugs outside of the original container. The man entered a plea of not guilty. Instead of enduring a trial where students would have to testify, he chose to enter the pretrial intervention program. To complete the program, he must pay a program fee, a monthly probation fee, is forbidden from possessing illegal drugs and is subject to random drug testing during the course of the 18 month program. The former professor is barred from interacting with UGA students for 12 months and must complete 80 hours of community service to have all misdemeanor charges dismissed.

Programs like this one are available to defendants at the will of the prosecutor. Youth and first time offenders in particular have many options available to them. The right criminal law attorney can help negotiate on behalf of their clients to get charges dismissed or reduced.

Source: Athens Banner-Herald, "UGA Prof arrested on drug charges allowed into pretrial intervention program," Joe Johnson, July 31, 2014

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