Recent Changes to Southlight's First Offender's Program

In Wake County, first-time offenders are given the opportunity to earn a dismissal of misdemeanor drug and alcohol charges through SouthLight’s diversion programs, including the Drug & Alcohol Education Program and Conditional Discharge.  Examples of common misdemeanor charges covered by the SouthLight programs include Possession of Schedule II through VI Controlled Substance (i.e., simple possession of marijuana), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possess or Consume Alcohol Underage (i.e., underage drinking ticket), and Possession of a Fake ID.

SouthLight recently changed the structure of its diversion program to include 3 different levels, with eligibility criteria and deferral requirements varying at each level.  A summary of these changes and the 3 new program levels is shown on the chart below:


PROGRAM / LEVEL: 1st Offender Diversion Drug/Alcohol (Level 1)


1. No prior diversion of any kind

2. No prior criminal convictions

3. No other pending charges


1. Case deferred for 6 months

2. 15 hour drug/alcohol education classes (minimum)

3. $250 program fee + $180 court costs


PROGRAM/LEVEL: Drug Diversion (Level 2)


1. No prior DRUG deferral

2. May have ONE prior misdemeanor conviction, except:


No drug-related convictions

No felony convictions

No convictions of violence/abuse

3. If over 21 years old, no convictions of any kind in the past 5 years


1. Case deferred for 1 year

2. Substance abuse assessment + recommended treatment (15 hour minimum)

3. 50 hours of community service

4. Random drug screens

5. $250 program fee + $180 court costs





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.