When someone gets arrested for a drug-related criminal offense in Oklahoma, they typically face jail time and other criminal penalties. Even those who avoid jail time will still have to worry about the consequences of a permanent criminal record. Drug offenses can alter how employers, educational institutions and landlords view applicants and can often lead to reduced opportunities for someone with a prior conviction.
Fighting back against drug charges in criminal court often seems like a very intimidating prospect. There is a different, lower-conflict option also available in some cases. Some defendants can avoid criminal court and may take their case through the adult drug treatment courts instead.
Does your case qualify for drug court proceedings?
There are two requirements for your charges to be eligible for drug court proceedings instead of criminal court. The first is that it must be a non-violent offense. Those accused of harming another person because of their addiction likely will not qualify for drug court.
Additionally, drug court proceedings are primarily available to those accused of felony offenses. You will also need to undergo an evaluation or submit existing medical evidence that shows you struggle with chemical dependence.
What happens in drug court?
When you seek drug court adjudication, you essentially ask the courts to oversee you as you undergo treatment for substance abuse. You have regular involvement with court-appointed officials and must undergo both mandatory treatment and regular drug testing to establish sobriety and address the root issues that led to the substance abuse issue in the first place.
When someone successfully completes the requirements set by the drug courts, they can avoid criminal penalties and eliminate the criminal record that might permanently limit their future opportunities. Drug court therefore helps those struggling with addiction both by supporting them as they seek treatment for their issues and by allowing them to move on with their lives if they are able to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Overall, the Oklahoma drug courts have a very positive impact on the state, helping people get back to work after criminal offenses and reducing what it costs for the state to intervene in a situation involving substance abuse disorders. Learning more about drug court and other state programs will help those facing drug charges decide on the right strategy for their defense.