KC, a 27 year old mechanic from Hampstead, NH, got caught purchasing heroin during a police surveillance operation at a hotel in Andover. He was arrested on Saturday, December 26, 2015 and released to appear in Lawrence District Court for an arraignment on December 29, 2015. KC retained Attorney Robert Lewin to represent him and to appear in Court with him for his arraignment on December 29, 2015. KC’s timing was excellent. KC had no criminal record and is a Veteran. If his arraignment actually took place on December 29, 2015 then a criminal record would be created. It was important to try to avoid an arraignment from taking place.
Attorney Lewin had no less than three approaches to avoiding the arraignment. First, KC, as a Veteran who served in combat, was eligible to have his case diverted out of the criminal justice system under the newly passed Massachusetts Valor Act. Secondly, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office has a drug diversion program for first time drug offenders with no criminal record. Thirdly, Chapter 111E of the Massachusetts General Laws also provides a framework for diversion of drug cases out of the criminal justice system.
On December 29, 2015 Attorney Lewin and KC appeared in Lawrence District Court. Attorney Lewin and KC met with the Chief Probation Officer of the Court to see if KC qualified for diversion of his case under the Massachusetts Valor Act. Probation agreed that he did so qualify. Attorney Lewin then went and spoke with the coordinator of the Essex County District Attorney’s Office drug diversion program and he agreed that KC would qualify for the drug diversion program. KC agreed to participate in the Essex County Drug Diversion Program. This program involves drug treatment and counseling and random drug testing. The program runs 4- 6 months. KC and Attorney Lewin then appeared before the Judge in the First Criminal Session. KC’s case was called but he was not arraigned. Attorney Lewin explained to the Judge that KC qualified for diversion of his case out of the criminal justice system under all three diversion schemes. Attorney Lewin informed the Judge that the parties had agreed that KC’s case be sent to the Essex County Drug Diversion Program. As a result of this disposition KC continues to have a clean criminal record. This case does NOT appear on his criminal record (because he was never arraigned). The reason timing is so important in this type of situation is that once an arraignment takes place a criminal record is created. KC was on the ball and hired an experienced criminal lawyer who knew the ins and outs of avoiding a record.