Maybe you got arrested for drug possession, or perhaps you face a nonviolent offense that directly relates to your substance abuse issues. The criminal consequences of such offenses include prison sentences and large fines, as well as probation or community service.
In addition to the direct consequences handed down at your sentencing hearing, there will also be indirect social consequences. Your criminal record is one of the most serious concerns, as everyone from landlords and scholarship organizations to employers will do a background check when making major decisions about your future.
If you plead guilty to that offense, you may have a hard time going back for your bachelor’s degree later or getting the best job possible in your field of expertise. Pursuing adjudication in the drug courts can be a viable option for those who want to minimize their penalties. How can you determine if you qualify for drug court proceedings?
Only non-violent offenses qualify
The first and most important rule regarding what are eligible for drug court proceedings in Texas relates to the nature of the offense. Obviously, those accused of a crime directly related to their addiction, like possession, could ask for the drug courts to hear their case. Any other non-violent offense may also qualify someone for drug court proceedings.
Beyond that, the individual asking for such consideration will typically need to show that substance abuse played role in the crime or influence their state of mind. If the courts agree that you qualify, you will then have to attend frequent meetings and hearings arranged by the drug courts.
How drug court is different than criminal court
The biggest difference between the drug courts and the criminal courts is that the focus is not on punishing you but on helping you overcome your addiction. The courts impose certain requirements, including mandatory treatment, randomized drug testing and frequent meetings with court professionals.
You have to comply with all of those requirements to successfully complete drug court proceedings. If you do, you won’t face any criminal penalties and you will avoid the criminal record that would burden you for life. Learning more about the drug courts and other criminal justice alternatives in Texas can help you minimize the consequences of your recent drug charges.