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251 Disposition

Many times we make mistakes; however, these mistakes can be costly, depending on the circumstances. Certain mistakes can lead to criminal charges, fines, jail time, and a wide variety of other consequences that can cost you your freedoms and can impact the rest of your life. However, the Virginia legislature understands that sometimes these mistakes should be forgiven, especially for first-time offenses. To show this they have created 18.2-251 within the Virginia Code. Reserved primarily for first-time drug offenders this code allows for the charge to be dismissed after a variety of conditions are met. In order to receive the benefit of a 251 disposition the accused must not have been convicted of a crime previously. Although it allows the charge to be dismissed there are a variety of obligations the person must meet in order to gain the benefits of the 251 disposition.

Requirements of a 251 Disposition

In order to have the benefits from 251 the accused must plead guilty to the charges or agree that the evidence is sufficient to find them guilty. They must then ask for a 251 disposition. The court will then withhold a finding of guilt, defer other proceedings, and place the accused on probation under the terms set out in 251. The probation shall be the same as if the person had been found guilty, although the court has yet to adjudicate the accused. Once the court has agreed to a 251 disposition the person must complete all the requirements set out in 18.2-251, otherwise the court will impose a typical sentence of the crime. If the accused meets all the requirements of 251 the court shall discharge the accused and dismiss the charge against him. This dismissal is without an adjudication of guilt; therefore, the accused shall not be found guilty if they meet all the requirements of 251.

The conditions of the 251 require that the accused undergo a substance abuse assessment and, if needed, enter treatment or an educational program related to the substance abuse. The accused will have to pay for this screening and for the treatment or educational services, unless the accused is found to be indigent.

The court must also require the accused to successfully complete a substance abuse treatment or educational system; forfeit their license; remain drug and alcohol free and submit to tests during the probationary period; maintain or attempt to find employment; keep the court updated if they change their address; and complete 24 hours of community service for a misdemeanor or 100 hours for a felony. Their substance abuse treatment will normally be handled by the county’s Alcohol and Safety Action Program or ASAP. ASAP determines the extent of the substance abuse treatment needed.

Our Attorneys Can Help You

There are many pros to having a 251 disposition, but the process can be longer and more intensive than some anticipate. In order to fully understand the pros and cons you should consult an attorney with experience in these types of matters. At Simms Showers we are committed to finding the best solution for your predicament and fight for your rights. Contact our Leesburg attorneys today for help.

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