Every year, thousands of people in Illinois get arrested for drug offenses. Many of them will face incarceration, fines and career consequences for those charges.
Often, criminal behavior related to drugs stems from addiction. There might be an underlying medical or psychological factor that increases someone’s likelihood of abusing a drug. In some cases, such as with a person abusing opioids or opiates, the addict may have a physical dependence on the drug or may fear the experience of withdrawal.
Although the state does prosecute and incarcerate people for possession and other addiction-related offenses, it does also offer drug court as an option in certain scenarios. How does drug court help those facing criminal charges related to addiction?
It provides access to treatment and support
Typically, those who seek adjudication in the drug courts rather than the standard criminal courts will have to go to court weekly and then monthly as part of the program. The idea is to have a judge provide direct oversight in their attempt at recovery.
Drug court often involves state-mandated counseling or rehabilitation services. Having legal requirements to get help can be the motivation someone needs to really commit to therapy for their chemical dependence. Needing to answer to the courts every week and to submit to random drug screenings can also help someone stay committed to sobriety.
Those going through drug court may have the motivation and support they really need to uncover the root cause of their chemical dependence and address it so that they regain control over their lives.
Drug court can minimize the impact of your criminal charges
Obviously, avoiding incarceration and the worst penalties for addiction-related criminal charges benefits the defendant. However, the benefits of drug court don’t just stop with not going the jail.
In theory, if you complete all of the requirements the court set, you can avoid the lifelong complications that come with a serious criminal conviction on your record. Successfully completing drug court could be the difference between having an offense on your record that permanently limits your professional and educational opportunities and finally putting this difficult time in your life behind you.