People commit criminal acts for all sorts of reasons. In some cases, the underlying issue is poverty. People experiencing financial distress may commit theft crimes or get involved in the underground market for drugs as a way to make money quickly. Other times, those accused of criminal actions struggle with addiction. Many people convicted of crimes make mistakes due to substance abuse disorders. Chemical dependence issues are a leading cause of criminal activity.
Those struggling with substance abuse will often find that the traditional criminal justice system only worsens their circumstances. However, there is an alternative option available in some cases.
The drug courts offer help instead of punishment
Too often, people accused of crimes while struggling with addiction plead guilty. They end up in state custody and face even more challenges after serving their sentences. Yet, those accused of nonviolent offenses related to a substance abuse disorder don’t always have to go to trial. Sometimes, they can qualify for drug court proceedings instead of a criminal trial. Drug courts, sometimes called treatment courts, help criminal defendants facing charges related to an addiction.
The courts will oversee their treatment. They may even require inpatient rehabilitation services. The defendant will need to follow a plan established by the drug courts that will require regular meetings with officials and occasional drug testing. If someone qualifies for drug court and successfully completes the process, they can potentially avoid a criminal record. They will also eliminate the risk of criminal penalties, like incarceration and fines. Looking into eligibility for drug court is one of multiple viable responses to pending drug-related criminal charges.