A drug offense can mean major hardship for those who are convicted of wrongdoing. Even simple possession offenses can result in a lifetime criminal record that will influence what jobs and educational opportunities someone can pursue.
Despite a growing body of evidence that makes it clear that substance abuse disorders are not a result of innate criminal tendencies but often a byproduct of untreated trauma and other personal issues, the West Virginia courts still consistently hand down harsh criminal penalties for those accused of possession and other drug offenses.
Thankfully, drug courts serve as a viable alternative for those accused of an offense related to controlled substances under certain circumstances. How do the drug courts benefit those facing criminal charges in West Virginia?
1. They may help someone achieve sobriety
The goal of drug court proceedings isn’t to convict someone of an offense but rather to help them get treatment for a substance abuse disorder.
Mandatory therapy and randomized drug testing are critical parts of the process. Those supported and monitored by the courts may have an easier time achieving sobriety than those trying to overcome an addiction without support.
2. They eliminate criminal penalties
It will take over a year for someone to complete the drug court process. During that time, they will likely have to attend regular meetings and counseling sessions in addition to showing up for testing whenever ordered by the courts to do so.
However, if someone completes all of those requirements, they won’t have to serve any kind of jail sentence or pay fines like those with a criminal conviction. There are no criminal consequences imposed on those who successfully complete the drug court process.
3. They allow an accused individual to avoid a criminal record
Perhaps the biggest benefit of successful drug court proceedings is how the courts will not report the issue as part of someone’s permanent criminal record. If someone completes the drug court process successfully, they will not have a criminal record stemming from that arrest.
Although it may take a bit of effort to fulfill all of the requirements set by a judge in a drug court case, the benefits of fulfilling those requirements are significant. Looking into every option when facing drug charges can help people to more effectively protect their interests and the integrity of their futures.