In this episode, Chuck describes the change from the TASC program to SAGE Counseling and how you may benefit from participating.
Hi Friends. Hey, I’m going to talk to you about something that’s actually been available to a Defendant in Superior Court. It’s called TASC. And if you got popped with possession of just about any kind of drug, you had to alternative to go through the TASC… I don’t want to call it a Rehab Program; but through the TASC Program to get counseling, drops UA’s for a year, pay a fee, and then have the charge dismissed.
Well, TASC is no longer available. It’s been replaced by Sage Counseling. And now Sage Counseling is not only available for drug offenders and again possession cases. I’m not talking about huge quantities or transportation or transportation for sale or sale of drugs; but for users. First offense. And someone who does not have a violent prior. But beyond the drug counseling, and there’s three tracks you can go through depending upon the severity of your… we’ll call it your habit. You now have the possibility of any Class Four, Five, or Six Felonies other than drug offenses that aren’t violent (again) to go through this program. Three more different kinds of Tracks depending upon what the offense is and what your behavioral problems are or mental health issues are; and work toward getting those charges dismissed as well.
Back when I started practicing Law thirty-three years ago, a TASC type of diversion program was available for all kinds of felonies, by Class Four, Five and Sixes beyond drugs. Then they got so busy it just narrowed down to drug offenses. Now we’re back to the way we were over thirty years ago so that you could conceivably, work off your charges that are other than drug offenses.
This is a great opportunity for somebody that screws up and it was a one-time deal and they obviously don’t want a felony conviction because as you know, that follows you for the rest of your life. In terms of employment, credit, getting an apartment, renting an apartment, renting a house. It’s virtually impossible if you’re a convicted felon to do all sorts of things. And you can’t own a gun. You can’t possess a gun. You’ll never qualify in Arizona or under Federal Law, excuse me, and State Law to be able to get a gun.
This is a good way to work that off and get everything behind you. There will always be a record of your arrest. Whatever the offense is. But the entry should be dismissed because if you get through the program, whether it be drugs or something other than drugs in a non-violent manner, then it will show dismissed because the County Attorney’s Office will file a motion to dismiss because you’ve completed the program.
The issue is two-fold. You have two years to complete the program satisfactorily; and then the second part is restitution is capped at two thousand dollars. In other words, if you ended up stealing something and otherwise eligible for this program through Sage Counseling, if the amount of money that the victim is owed is greater than two thousand dollars, you don’t qualify.
So, if you burglarize a non-residential structure and take three thousand dollars’ worth of things, you don’t qualify. So, it all depends on the monetary loss by the victim and the second thing is if you don’t complete it within two years, that’s it. You don’t get another chance. And part of the in-take process is you have to admit to the offense. So, then the State ends up proceeding with the prosecution and since they’ve got your statement that says I did all these things. They’ve got a bit of an advantage.
Another issue with restitution is you have to pay half of it up-front. In other words, if you owe two thousand dollars in restitution to the alleged victim, you better come in when you start the program with a thousand bucks in your pocket. Otherwise, again you’re not eligible to participate in the Sage Program. So, in reality it’s a great opportunity when you screw up just once to get rid of everything; but there are some qualifiers which is what I just spoke of.
Good luck to you if you enter into the program; but that’s one of the options you have as opposed to trying to get a plea agreement which would undoubtedly most of the time end up with a felony conviction.
Hope that helps you out. Good luck. Bye-bye.