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Pediatrician enters diversion program instead of being charged

A pediatrician was taken into police custody on suspicion of drug possession near a California festival. The pediatrician was pulled over by police for a traffic stop when police allegedly found the drugs. Police reportedly found MDMA, GHB and illegal mushrooms in the pediatrician's possession. The pediatrician was taken into custody, but he not charged with any crime in lieu of him entering a diversion program.

The state of California gives persons arrested on suspicion of drug violations the ability to avoid criminal charges by agreeing to enter into a drug diversion program. The individual's eligibility for such an opportunity depends on the type of potential charges they face and their criminal record.

Drug arrests can have many unintended consequences. Diversion programs can be a smart way to handle an arrest. The pediatrician in this case may have benefited from entering into the program due to the potential consequences a drug charge and potential conviction may have on his medical license. If the pediatrician was indicted or convicted on felony or misdemeanor charges, his license may have been affected.

Here, the pediatrician was able to enter into a diversion program instead of facing drug possession charges. However, not all defendants arrested will have that opportunity. A person who has been taken into custody on the suspicion of drug violations needs to take their rights into consideration before making a decision. Anyone recently arrested or facing potential drug charges should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorney may go over the diversion program option if it is available and may also advise their client of the possible consequences associated with all of the available options.

Source: ABC 10 News, "Local pediatrician arrested on suspicion of drug possession outside of Burning Man festival", Dan Haggerty, September 12, 2013

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