A possible alternative to jail for a first drug offense

by | May 11, 2021 | Drug Charges

Many, if not most, people arrested on drug charges in Delaware County are struggling with addiction. Being sentenced to jail or prison time is unlikely to help them deal with this mental health issue, possibly leading to further arrests and criminal charges down the line.

Recognizing this contradiction between the punishment-based nature of state drug laws versus the medical nature of addiction, Delaware County has established a Drug Treatment Court. If you have been charged with a crime like drug possession or trafficking, Drug Treatment Court could provide you an alternative to the criminal court process and a chance to regain control over your life.

An alternative to traditional drug crime sentencing

Drug Treatment Court is a 30-month program during which participants are offered several resources, including housing, vocational training, and drug or alcohol addiction treatment. In exchange, the participant enters a “no contest” plea in court and must have a job or attend educational or vocational training for the duration of the program. They must also attend addiction treatment during that time. Failure to comply with these and other rules can mean that the participant’s plea is accepted by the court, which will sentence them accordingly.

Getting your case into Drug Treatment Court is not automatic. You must apply and meet certain criteria, such as never having participated in the program before and no history of weapons convictions or violent behavior. Some things, such as being “seriously and persistently mentally ill,” will disqualify an applicant from participating.

Your defense attorney can explain if you qualify for the program and help you apply.