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Conway Criminal Law Blog

Horry County offers alternatives to traditional criminal court

Whether they are natives or visitors to the Myrtle Beach area, certain people accused of crimes may have the option to avoid a traditional criminal charge and conviction.

These options can be a huge advantage to a person accused of a crime. Not only do they protect a person from jail and other more serious consequences, they also typically end in the dismissal of a case. This means the person can walk away without a criminal conviction on his or her record.

There are some trade-offs to these programs. For one, the local prosecutor has a lot of discretion to decide both who is eligible and what a person will need to do while participating in the program. Generally speaking, these diversion programs are available to those who do not have a significant criminal history and who are accused of non-violent offenses.

For example, a person may be expected to attend classes, perform community service and pay fees related to the program.

The prosecutor also has a great deal of discretion to decide when a person has not followed the rules of the program.

Someone who does not complete the program will face a traditional criminal prosecution, and it may be harder at that point to dispute a criminal charge.

Horry County also offers special treatment courts for eligible defendants

** The 15th Circuit Treatment Courts, in which Horry County defendants are eligible to participate, offer another option for people to avoid the worst consequences of a criminal conviction.

Those who have diagnosable mental health conditions may qualify to participate in the Horry County Mental Health Court. Both Horry County and Georgetown County also have a separate Drug Court for people struggling under the weight of a substance addiction.

Like the diversion programs, these courts allow people to spend several months getting counseling and other treatment and taking other steps to help them avoid future brushes with the law.

If they complete their programs, they can avoid the most significant punishments.

Someone interested in participating in one of these programs may ask an experienced criminal defense attorney about them.