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What if addiction is to blame for a pending drug charge?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Drug Crimes

Some people commit drug offenses for economic reasons. The unregulated market represents an opportunity for relatively rapid financial gain. After all, there are no regulations limiting prices or controlling the quality of products. For some people, the promise of profit is what leads to a drug charge.

Many others accused of involvement with illicit substances do not use or acquire drugs for financial purposes but rather because of a substance abuse disorder. Perhaps they became dependent on opioids after a car crash or began self-medicating for untreated mental health issues. Those who become dependent on drugs might manufacture drugs to access them reliably and for a lower cost. They might purchase drugs from traffickers and get arrested for possession.

What options does a Virginia defendant have if addiction is to blame for their pending drug charges?

Some people may qualify for drug court

Lawmakers have had to acknowledge that prohibition alone has not resolved or even improved issues related to drug use in the United States. Many states, including Virginia, have passed laws creating drug treatment courts to address how addiction causes crime.

The drug courts are a more modern solution than the previous tactic of prosecuting people as aggressively as possible. The adult drug treatment courts in Virginia offer an alternative to those who have broken the law because of a substance abuse disorder. The requirements for drug court include proof that substance abuse issues contributed to someone’s criminal activity.

Individuals must agree to testing, attend meetings with professionals and complete professional rehabilitation programs for their substance abuse challenges. Drug court proceedings require a lengthy commitment from the defendant.

However, if they successfully complete treatment and pass the drug tests that the state administers, they may eventually be able to move on with their lives. Those who comply with drug court requirements can potentially achieve sobriety and overcome their substance abuse issues. They can also sidestep the traditional criminal penalties and the significant criminal record that could come from a guilty plea.

Discussing drug court as an option might help those who want to take control of their situation after getting arrested for a drug offense. Defendants who know the options available to them can use that information to minimize potential impacts of pending criminal charges.