Massachusetts G.L. c. 111E: Diversion of Persons Determined to be Drug Dependent

Massachusetts General Laws chapter 111E offers diversion for defendants who are charged with drug offenses and are found to be drug dependent persons who would benefit by treatment. Diversion under Chapter 111E gives qualifying defendants the opportunity to avoid the criminal system by instead participating in a drug-treatment program designated by the court.

Chapter 111E section 10 provides for diversion by assignment to a drug treatment program only for defendants who are charged with drug offenses and are found to be drug dependent persons. This section provides that when a defendant is charged with a drug offense the defendant must be notified of the right to request an examination to determine if he is a drug dependent person who would benefit by treatment; the defendant must then notify the court, in writing, within five days of this notification if he chooses to exercise this right.

Upon choosing to exercise this right, the court may make its own determination that the defendant is a drug dependent person that would benefit by treatment, or may order an examination by an addiction specialist. If it is so determined that the defendant is a drug dependent person that would benefit by treatment the court may order a stay of the criminal proceedings and assign the defendant to a drug treatment facility. There are a number of factors the court may consider in determining whether assignment under this section would be appropriate for a particular defendant.

The court must specify the length of the assignment, which may not exceed 18 months or the maximum sentence the defendant could have received if he was found guilty on all charges; whichever is shorter. Prior to such assignment the court must also consult with the facility to determine that adequate treatment is available.

A defendant who is determined to be a drug dependent person who would benefit by treatment and is entitled to assignment to a treatment facility must consent in writing to the terms of the assignment. Whereby, if the defendant successfully completes the terms of the treatment he may be entitled to the dismissal of his case. If the defendant fails to successfully complete the terms of assignment the court may revoke the stay of the proceedings and the criminal case will proceed under normal course.

A defendant who is charged with an offense other then a drug offense will not be eligible for a stay of proceedings and assignment to a treatment program as a potential disposition of the criminal case. However, a defendant found guilty of an offense other than a drug offense may still be eligible to be assigned treatment by the court. Under M.G.L. c. 111E section 11 and 12 if the defendant is convicted and is deemed to be a drug dependent person who would benefit by treatment the court may assign treatment at a penal facility for all or part of any term of incarceration imposed by the court, or as a condition of any term of probation imposed by the court.

Diversion and treatment pursuant to M.G.L. c. 111E section 10 can be a very effective and favorable option for resolving a case involving drug offenses. It is essential that a defendant charged with a drug offense be aware of this option and that he notify of the court of his desire to exercise his rights under this section. An attorney experienced with drug-dependent diversions pursuant to this statute will recognize good candidates for this disposition and help a defendant take full advantage of these rights and potential dispositions. It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to determine your potential eligibility and advocate for such a disposition.

Massachusetts Diversion Attorney (617) 263-6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug offense in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. Attorney Attorney Neyman regularly achieves excellent results in drug cases and other criminal matters. He has helped his clients favorably resolve their cases by securing various diversion opportunities and other similar dispositions and dismissals. Attorney Neyman is a fierce advocate who will fight to protect your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Because he understands that facing a criminal charge can cause anxiety and distress, he readily makes himself available to answer questions and address concerns. Call Attorney Neyman’s office at (617) 263-6800 or send him an e-mail today. You can reach his office at any time of day or night, so do not hesitate.

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