A drug conviction has the potential to set you back in many areas of your life. It may hurt your family and your bank account, for starters. It may, too, leave you facing time behind bars, which may hinder your ability to hold down a job. However, depending on circumstances, you may be able to avoid spending time in jail or prison after a drug violation by instead gaining entry into drug court.
Per the National Drug Court Resource Center, drug courts give some drug offenders a chance to avoid jail or prison time in exchange for completing a specific program and fulfilling all compliance requirements.
How drug courts work
You may see some variation among drug court programs in terms of how they operate. Sometimes, drug courts require that you plead guilty to your drug charge, but you then have your sentence deferred or suspended after you complete the program successfully. Other drug court programs divert you from traditional court proceedings before you make a plea. Once there, you typically have to take regular drug tests, make regular appearances before a judge and otherwise adhere to all program requirements.
How drug courts help
Proponents for drug courts argue that treating a drug offender’s substance dependency is a more effective means of reducing criminal activity than housing drug offenders behind bars. While the justice system may place you in jail or prison to punish you, it may place you in drug court to treat your dependency.
Different drug courts have different eligibility criteria. If your drug offense was not violent in nature, you may want to review the eligibility requirements for drug court in your county to see if you may be able to gain entry.