Can Drug Addiction Be Used as a Criminal Defense?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

Can Drug Addiction Be Used as a Criminal Defense?

People commit crimes for a variety of reasons, but bad judgment plays a significant role. Many of those who find themselves facing serious criminal charges admit that they were under the influence of drugs at the time or were motivated by drug addiction. This fact plays a role in building you a strong criminal defense and may also be used in considering alternative sentencing recommendations.

Drug Addiction and Crime

Drug use and criminal behaviors are inextricably linked. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the number of people being prosecuted within the criminal justice system has more than tripled over the past several decades, largely due to illegal drug use and drug addiction-related crimes.

Using, possessing, or distributing any type of illegal street drugs or pharmaceuticals without a prescription can result in harsh penalties, including a potentially lengthy prison sentence. Being under the influence of drugs or struggling with the emotional and physical discomfort that comes from addiction can make you more likely to commit theft, weapons offenses, and violent acts, such as assault or attempted murder.

In these situations, the fact that you are an addict or were under the influence of drugs at the time a crime occurred may play a role in your criminal defense. The NIH warns that both short and long term drug use can do major damage to neural pathways in the brain. The various effects this can have, which may be relevant in defending you against criminal charges, include:

  • Diminished thought processes and impaired judgment;
  • Lack of awareness or understanding regarding the consequences of your actions;
  • Decreased inhibitions and poor impulse control; and
  • Emotional disturbances, increasing the likelihood of compulsive or aggressive behaviors.

Alternative Sentencing Options that Can Help Drug Users Recover

Drug abuse and addiction are recognized as a chronic disease. As the number of people convicted of drug offenses has increased over the years, legislators have become more sensitive to the needs for treatment, rather than simply throwing people in jail.

The month of September is designated as National Recovery Month, with a focus on getting people who are substance abusers the help that they need. In California, there are several options available which can allow people with drug problems to avoid a prison sentence:

  • Drug court, which focuses on rehabilitation and recovery for non-violent offenders;
  • Deferred entry of judgment, which delays and potentially drops your case providing you meet certain court requirements; and
  • Pretrial diversion programs, which often involve payment of fines, enrollment in treatment programs, and performing community service in lieu of more serious penalties

Probation, house arrest, electronic monitoring, or work release may also be options for drug users facing criminal charges, depending on the circumstances involved.

Reach Out to Our San Jose Attorneys Today

Whether you are facing charges related to drugs or were under the influence when another type of crime occurred, the Jachimowicz Law Group is a strong legal ally to have on your side. To schedule a free consultation, call our office or contact our skilled San Jose criminal defense attorneys online today.