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Drug Rehabilitation to Escape Conviction

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

By John Vizzone


Quite often offenders of crime also have an associated or underlying drug issue/dependency that may be causing them to commit certain crimes.

Drug users can be referred to the MERIT program.


In New South Wales, a scheme is set up to divert such offenders into rehabilitation rather than in accordance with the general principles of law. This scheme is known as the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) scheme.


Defendants can be identified by their solicitor, prosecutor, themselves of the magistrate as being suitable for the program. Once being referred to the program, defendants will then be assessed as to whether they are suitable for the scheme. Should they be accepted into MERIT, the legal proceedings will usually follow their rehabilitation through MERIT with sentencing usually adjourned until the completion of the MERIT program.


Upon the completion of MERIT a report is submitted to the Court and the Magistrate must take it into consideration in their sentencing. Successful completion of the program often results in the matter being dismissed with no conviction, an outcome that is quite often not available for some offences.


Recently we had a case with a person who had been found to have committed drug driving, consuming marijuana and ice before getting behind the wheel. We applied to have the client enter the MERIT program. On completion the Magistrate dismissed the matter without recording a conviction which resulted in the client not only keeping their clean criminal history but also their drivers licence.


John Vizzone appears in most criminal and civil courts across New South Wales and can act on your matter. Contact us now on 9667 1271 or email law@vrtlawyers.com.au for a free case assessment.


#criminallaw #drugs #merit

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