The War on Drugs has been a pretty resounding failure. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a war on drug users. The sad truth is that the War on Drugs has done very little to stop the sale or use of any of a number of prohibited substances.
From marijuana to methamphetamine, demand for drugs remains high. A large number of people use prohibited substances for both recreational reasons and because of addiction. These people are often the real victims of the War on Drugs. For a small portion of the population using prohibited drugs, there will be criminal consequences.
Getting caught in possession of drugs can mean facing serious criminal charges. Thankfully, the government in New Jersey recognizes the fact that many people struggle with addiction. As a means of helping those dealing with drug addiction, New Jersey allows some individuals to go through drug court instead of criminal court.
Drug court benefits those accused of drug offenses
In order to qualify for drug court, those accused of crimes must meet certain standards. They must have an addiction to a substance, and generally speaking, their offense must be non-violent. The courts have some amount of discretion when it comes to whether they choose to transfer a case to drug court or keep it in the criminal system.
Going through drug court means that you typically won't wind up with a permanent criminal record, provided you complete all of the requirements. Additionally, drug court can keep you from serving jail time. Instead of incarceration, those attending drug court can anticipate receiving addiction rehabilitation services.
Typically, there is mandatory participation in an inpatient program. That means living in a rehab facility for months, in some cases. However, when you consider that the alternative is jail and that the rehabilitation facility will help you develop coping mechanisms to overcome your addiction, it is clear that having your case moved to the drug court can be very beneficial.
Pursuing drug court as an option often requires legal assistance
Convincing the courts that you deserve a second chance through participation in the drug court program isn't always easy. Those who work for the criminal court system have seen and heard many things over the course of their career that can make them skeptical of those seeking a way out of criminal court.
Those dealing with addiction, as well as the nerves that come from criminal proceedings, may not be in the best position to advocate for themselves. Working with a criminal defense attorney who understands the drug courts in New Jersey, and has the ability to calmly and professionally advocate on your behalf, can help you avoid the more serious consequences of criminal court proceedings.
An attorney can also help you determine what other defense strategies are most likely to work if you do not get to transfer your case to drug court.