Extending Your Student Visa

A student visa that lets you study at the university of your choice is a terrific thing for you. But what happens if your studies take longer than you planned? On top of exams and term papers, you may have to worry about your student visa expiring. That’s where an immigration lawyer can be your best friend. Understanding how immigration laws work can be the first step to making sure that you keep your student visa in good standing. My blog is all about immigration issues, especially those faced by foreign students. Check out the articles for more information that you can use to complete your studies in the country you chose to study in.

Understanding Your Options For Diversion Programs When You Are Charged With Drug Possession


If you are facing charges of drug possession for personal use, you should consult an attorney about potential diversion programs offered by your state. Diversion programs are designed to prevent people without a history of offences to avoid the legal system for minor, nonviolent offences such as possession of certain drugs. They usually include treatment in the form of counseling as opposed to punishment and may include restitution to the state or to a third party. There are several things that you should know about diversion programs if you are facing court charges. 

Benefits of Diversion Programs

Diversion programs offer two main benefits. The first benefit is that if you qualify for and complete a diversion program, you will not have a conviction on your legal record. This can prevent you from losing your federally funded student aide if you are currently enrolled in school and receiving benefits or plan to enroll in the near future. It can also make it easier to get certain jobs in the future and allow you to keep certain business licenses that can be revoked for convictions of drug-related crimes. Having a clean legal record can allow you to proceed with your current life plans without large obstacles. 

The second benefit of diversion programs is that you will receive counseling as opposed to punishment for your crime. This means that if you are currently suffering from addiction or facing social pressures that led to your drug possession, you can get professional help addressing those issues. This early intervention can possibly prevent you from having larger personal or social issues in the future that might lead to higher levels of drug use and repeated arrests. 

Types of Diversion Programs 

There are many types of diversion programs. Most programs have three components: restitution, counseling, and restriction. Restitution takes many forms and may include financial restitution to any victims involved in your crime or to a general community fund if there are no identified victims. Restitution can also include community service either as an individual or as part of a larger work crew. 

Counseling and treatment is often the largest aspect of a diversion program and what is offered usually depends on your location, the crime you are charged with, and your current personal needs. You may be required to stay at a residential substance abuse treatment center or enroll in a local support group. One option that sometimes appeals to young offenders is wilderness therapy, which involves learning basic outdoor and interpersonal skills while working closely with a therapist to address any substance abuse issues. 

Restriction during a diversion program may involve curfews or house arrest. It can also involve intensive probation, requiring you to check in daily with your probation officer. 

Issues With Diversion Programs 

Diversion programs are not perfect. While they can keep you from entering the court system, they can be time consuming. It can be difficult to maintain a job or other obligations and complete a diversion program since diversion programs require a large investment of time and energy. However, some counselors will work with you to create a long-term program that does not interfere with your current job or schooling. 

Another issue with diversion programs is that many of them require you to submit a guilty plea before allowing you to enroll in the program. If you fail to complete the program, it is not possible to change your plea before court proceedings begin. 

Requesting a Diversion Program 

Diversion programs may not be well-known in your area. It is important that you hire a lawyer who is experienced with setting up diversion programs for their clients to increase your chances of being accepted into a diversion program. Consider a firm like Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices if you are looking for a lawyer to represent you.


5 February 2016