For the majority of people who have been arrested and charged with a low-level drug offense like possession, the future is relatively frightening. That’s because they are not only worried about the looming fines and potential jail time, but also the degree to which a conviction could tarnish their reputation and jeopardize future employment opportunities.
As understandable as this concern is, people need to know about a state-sanctioned alternative designed to minimize these consequences and maximize the potential for a healthier future: drug court.
What is drug court?
Drug court is essentially a non-adversarial judicial process designed to divert alleged offenders with clearly established addiction issues into treatment programs rather than jail.
What exactly do these treatment programs entail?
It’s important to understand that the treatment programs offered via the drug court are by no means easy to complete. Indeed, participants are required to submit to regular testing for drugs and alcohol, complete treatment and counseling, perform community service, hold a job and make regular appearances before the court to assess compliance efforts.
How long does a treatment program typically last?
According to the state courts, the average length of a treatment program is 18 months.
Who exactly would be involved in a drug court case?
Despite their classification as non-adversarial proceedings, drug court cases involve a judge, prosecutor, public defender or private criminal defense attorney, drug counselor, and parole/probation officer.
What’s the primary objective of drug court?
The primary objective of drug court is rehabilitation, not incarceration. Specifically, the goal is to help a person struggling with addiction to address their issues, and start down the path to a new and healthier lifestyle, something that will greatly reduce their risk of reoffending.
How long has Arkansas had drug courts?
The first drug court in Arkansas started right here in Pulaski County back in 1994 thanks to funding from the state Department of Health and the federal Department of Justice. There are currently 39 drug courts in the state.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime and would like to learn whether drug court is a viable option, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.