SAN ANTONIO – A new program will be offered to first-time, nonviolent offenders charged with certain felony drug offenses that will help them clean their records.
If a defendant accepts the deal, he or she will have to complete community service hours, attend substance abuse treatment and counseling.
Defendants will have one year of minimum supervision but could have up to two years. They can be of any age as long as it’s their first criminal offense of any kind, except Class C traffic violations.
Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood said the goal of the Felony Pretrial Division Program is to educate and treat low-risk, first-time offenders, prevent their return to the criminal justice system and provide the opportunity to continue life with a clean slate.
“It’s not a freebie. They have to work for the end goal, and I think that accountability will make the program more successful,” LaHood said. “I don’t believe in giving freebies away. I believe in people working to accomplish a goal, and I think that will be long-lasting on the individual in the justice system.”
Participants who successfully complete the program will have their criminal cases dismissed. If they fail to complete it, they will go to trial and face the full range of punishment for the offense.