New changes to NC Gen. Stat. 90-96 help first time offenders in North Carolina

The Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) (S.L. 2011-192) has made several changes to areas of criminal law. Most notably for criminal law, the changes allow me to help first time offenders under North Carolina General Statute 90-96, which allows for a conditional discharge for certain drug offenders. As of January 1, 2012, the new statute allows a convicted defendant to consent to being placed on probation without the court actually entering judgment.  If the person fulfills the terms and conditions of the probation, the statute reads that the court shall dismiss the charges against the defendant. If however, the person violates a term or condition of the probation, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and sentence the defendant. Successful defendants may apply for an expunction of the dismissed charge which is one of the services we offer for clients who enter the first offender’s program.

The defendants that are eligible for the conditional discharge are those who have a clean criminal record and are charged with any misdemeanor or felony simple possession of controlled substances crime under G.S. 90-95(a)(3), regardless of the substance schedule or amount, and/ or possession of drug paraphernalia under G.S. 90-113.22. This is expansive, as the old statute would only allow a 90-96 to be used for defendants charged with possession of cocaine.  We have placed clients charged with larceny into this program among other crimes charged.  The program fee is $250 in addition to court costs around $188.  You are also required to complete 75 hours of community service in Wake County.  You are able to choose where you do the community service as well.

If you have any questions, or would like to see if a conditional discharge would be appropriate in your pending charges, please give us a call today at 919-585-1486 to speak with a Raleigh first offenders lawyer at the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC.  Our office is centrally located in Cary and you can reach us by e-mail for a free consultation at


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.