If you or someone you love was recently arrested on drug-related charges, you will want to learn about California’s “drug courts.” What are drug courts, and why are they beneficial for some people facing drug charges?
A drug court is a special court calendar that offers a favorable alternative to the traditional prosecution for a drug-related offense; an offense that is non-violent in nature.
Such courts involve close monitoring of the offender with probation supervision and substance abuse treatment, all while under the watchful eyes of a judge.
The main goals of these programs are threefold:
- To reduce the incidence of substance abuse among offenders
- To reduce the state’s recidivism rate
- To improve the offender’s chances of rehabilitation
Lawmakers created California’s drug courts as a means of treating addiction, recidivism and for engaging early intervention, thereby focusing on treating the individual’s core problems, rather than punishing them for their drug-related addictions and subsequent criminal behaviors.
Drug Court Provides Critical ‘Access to Treatment’
One of the crucial benefits of drug court is how it provides substance-abusing offenders with access to the treatment services they need. The adult courts, in collaboration with the family courts (where applicable) seek to help offenders receive treatment while minimizing the use of imprisonment.
Typically, drug courts combine intensive treatment services with regular monitoring for a minimum of one year, if not longer. The dependency drug courts address issues that lead to the removal of offenders’ minor children, while the drug courts in family court address the effects of substance on a parent’s rights to child custody and visitation of their children.
Why choose drug court?
When there is sufficient evidence in a case involving drug charges, it is often beneficial for the offender to participate in a pre-plea diversion drug court program.
Why? Because, it allows a defendant’s criminal proceedings to be suspended while they participate in education, counseling and any other requirements set forth by the court. Upon successful completion of the program, the defendant’s criminal charges may be dismissed.