Dedicated Texas Criminal Defender

How can a substance use disorder impact one’s criminal defense?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2023 | Criminal defense

Some people who are facing criminal charges struggle with a substance use disorder. This reality can potentially have a significant impact on their defense strategy, as it may allow a defendant to qualify for a deferred prosecution arrangement.

Having a substance use disorder can also potentially be considered as a mitigating factor, possibly reducing the severity of a defendant’s sentence, under certain circumstances. Every case is unique, so seeking legal guidance from a lawyer who works with individuals who are battling substance abuse disorders can be advantageous.

Role of medical witnesses

If you have a substance abuse disorder and are facing charges, your defense may involve medical professionals or expert witnesses who can validate your condition. These experts may testify about the nature of your substance use disorder, how it affects your decision-making abilities and why it might have led to your involvement in a criminal act. They can also suggest alternative sentence options, such as rehabilitation programs, which might benefit you long-term.

Defense strategy possibilities

Using a substance use disorder as a part of your defense is a strategic decision that comes with pros and cons. It might provide context for your actions and serve as a mitigating factor. It could also expose you to additional legal consequences, including mandatory rehabilitation or increased scrutiny from law enforcement. Your substance use disorder can also affect the way plea bargains are negotiated. Prosecutors might be more willing to offer a plea deal if you agree to undergo treatment.

Long-term repercussions

Beyond the immediate legal proceedings, a criminal charge coupled with a substance use disorder can have a lasting impact on your life. It might affect your employment opportunities, social relationships and self-esteem. As a result, for many defendants who have a substance use disorder, addressing treatment of their disorder while navigating their criminal cases makes sense. This effort can also help to reduce recidivism if a substance use disorder was a factor in a defendant’s alleged criminal actions.

Ultimately, those who struggle with substance abuse deserve support. Seeking support while facing criminal charges is certainly possible and may be to your advantage.