On March 15, 2019, LN, a 35 year old woman from Plaistow, NH, drove to Haverhill, MA and parked outside a house in Haverhill. Shortly thereafter a man came out of the house and went over to LN’s car and sold LN a small amount of cocaine for $30.00. Unfortunately for LN (and the man), undercover plain clothes officers had the man and his house under surveillance for drug distribution. The police stopped LN and seized the cocaine from her. She was subsequently summonsed to Haverhill District Court charged with Possession of Cocaine and Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Law. LN’s arraignment was scheduled for April 18, 2019. LN consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover in the evening of April 15, 2019 (three days before her court date). Attorney Lewin immediately went to Haverhill District Court the next morning and obtained copies of all the relevant court papers and the police report.
Essex County has a Drug Diversion Program. The purpose of the program is to take persons accused with a drug offense and give them an opportunity to avoid prosecution and get their cases dismissed provided they comply with a treatment program and remain free of drugs, alcohol, and marijuana. One of the considerations in determining an offender’s eligibility is the existence or non-existence of any criminal record. This was a problem for LN as she had two felony welfare fraud convictions; one in Florida and one in New Hampshire. Attorney Lewin met with the Assistant District Attorney and discussed the case with an eye toward getting the case diverted out of the criminal justice system. Attorney Lewin also spoke with the director of the Drug Diversion Program and she felt that LN’s case was a good case for diversion, notwithstanding her two out of state convictions. On April 18, 2019 LN and Attorney Lewin appeared in Haverhill District Court for LN’s arraignment.
Attorney Lewin explained to the Judge that an agreement had been reached for LN’s case to be diverted. The Judge then approved diversion of the case. As a result, the prosecution of the two criminal charges against LN was put on hold. LN has been referred to the Diversion Program. The program will last six months and LN must comply with the following conditions:
- She must commit no violations of the criminal law.
- She must remain drug free.
- She must remain marijuana free.
- She must remain alcohol free.
- She must attend a meeting once a week and be drug tested each week.
As long as she complies with these conditions, then at the end of six months the case will be DISMISSED. If she fails to comply with the conditions then her case will be reactivated and all of her rights to fight the case and have a trial are still in full force and effect.
As a result of this diversion of her case, Attorney Lewin explained the following to LN:
- Her plea of NOT guilty remains in full force and effect.
- There was NO guilty plea.
- There was NO admission of guilt or wrongdoing.
- There was NO finding of guilt or wrongdoing.
- This was NOT a plea bargain.
- In six months her case will be DISMISSED.
LN left the Court a happy woman.
It should be noted that for some people the drug diversion program is not workable. If a person is addicted to drugs (or alcohol) signing them up for the program can be a recipe for failure. For diversion to be successful the client must be willing and able to remain drug and alcohol free.