When California authorities charge you with a drug-related criminal offense, quite a bit hangs in the balance. Depending on the severity of the drug offense and the circumstances that led to your arrest, you may face a multitude of severe penalties if that charge leads to a conviction.
However, in some instances, you may be able to get out of jail or prison by enrolling in – and successfully completing – a California drug court program.
How drug courts work
Expect there to be some variation between how one drug court program operates and how the next one does. However, most share certain operational elements in common. For instance, most California drug courts require that you enter a guilty plea before signing on to participate. However, should you successfully graduate, your drug charge may undergo a reduction in severity. Most drug courts also require that you take drug tests, make regular appearances and undergo counseling while the program is ongoing.
What drug courts seek to do
Drug courts have several distinct goals. First, they aim to reduce recidivism among offenders whose actions may be the result of their substance dependencies. Second, they aim to help drug offenders overcome their dependencies so that their substance abuse disorders no longer contribute to their behaviors.
Many studies have shown that drug courts have proven, positive results. Research shows that they are good for drug offenders because they help them beat their dependencies and become less likely to re-enter the criminal justice system. Yet, they are also good for communities because they help reduce criminal behavior and because it costs less to put an offender through drug court than it does the state’s prison system.