Arrested For Drug Abuse? Here’s One Way to Avoid Conviction

By KevinMarcilliat, In Drug Crimes, 0 Comments


Avoid Conviction with Conditional Discharge

If you’ve been arrested and charged with drug possession for the first time (and in rare cases sale or distribution), North Carolina law allows for “conditional discharge” in some cases.

In general, conditional discharge means that if you fulfill court-ordered substance abuse counseling and/or community service, you can avoid having a conviction entered on your record. In some cases, a good defense attorney can persuade a court to allow you to receive a conditional discharge, even if you have a prior drug conviction. See State v. Clark (January 20, 2015) (because defendant’s prior drug conviction was more than 7 years prior, the court had the authority to conditionally discharge defendant’s possession of cocaine charge).

This means no jail time. No criminal record. In other words, in those cases that allow for conditional discharge, your future will remain alive and well.

If you or a family member has been arrested on a drug charge, call Marcilliat & Mills PLLC today at 877-242-1397. We will answer your questions about conditional discharge. You may also read below to learn more about who might benefit from this law and why.

Will You Benefit From Conditional Discharge?

In our practice, we’ve seen conditional discharge primarily benefit young people, those in their teens and twenties, as well as professionals in their thirties and forties. These people have simply been caught with drugs. Most of them aren’t dealers. They may or may not have a substance abuse problem. But they have been charged with a first time offense and the quality of their future is at stake.

What Type of Drug Use?

Many of our clients are charged with possession of either marijuana or prescription painkillers. Though state lawmakers have again introduced a Medical Cannabis Act in this year’s legislative session, North Carolina remains a prohibition state. Possession of marijuana, whether for recreational or medical purposes, is either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of marijuana involved. And when it comes to prescription painkillers-many of which are made of the same stuff as heroin-what starts out as pain relief can spiral into abuse.

Is Criminalization the Right Answer?

Maybe you’re a post-partum mother struggling with the pain of a difficult childbirth. Your doctor prescribes painkillers. What starts out as acceptable use transforms into dependence. It happens. Some months later, you’re arrested for illegal possession of painkillers or some other drug. Does such a mother deserve jail time and a criminal record?


The War on Drugs has had our focus on criminalizing people who use certain drugs, like marijuana (as opposed to tobacco and alcohol) and punishing them severely for it with prison time and career-crushing criminal records. With our attention here, on “illegal drugs” and the “criminals” who use them, it is reasonable to assume that as a nation we have failed to give far too many people the help they truly needed.

Why Hire Marcilliat & Mills PLLC?

With conditional discharge, North Carolina lawmakers are finally starting to recognize that criminalizing drug possession and imposing the punishment of a conviction does not address the underlying drug use, whether or not addiction is a real problem for the individual user. At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, we care about the injustice of this situation. We care that countless peoples’ lives have been sacrificed on the altar of the government’s failed War on Drugs.

Contact Us Today

If you’ve been arrested for drug possession (or related offense), call 877-242-1397 now to discuss your options with the defense lawyers of Marcilliat & Mills PLLC.

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