When you are facing criminal charges for drug possession or similar offenses, you may believe that you have two options – to plead guilty or to fight your charges at trial. While pleading guilty may be the right choice for some individuals, having a drug conviction on your record can lead to complications in your future and you could be sentenced to time in jail. Similarly, taking a case to trial can be the right decision under certain circumstances, however, you run the risk of an unfavorable jury verdict.
Fortunately, there is often another option for people facing certain drug charges in New Jersey, which is to apply for a diversionary program commonly known as “drug court.” Simply put, drug courts put your case on hold while you participate in the program, which has many requirements intended for rehabilitation and to avoid future drug arrests. If you successfully complete the program, your case can be dismissed and you will not have a conviction on your record.
Not only do diversionary programs help defendants facing charges but they also take a significant amount of financial strain off the NJ prison system. Drug offenses are common in the criminal justice system and, if every so-called drug offender goes to prison, the costs can be astronomical. In addition, prison does not provide many opportunities for true rehabilitation, so many released offenders end up back in court facing new charges and additional years behind bars in the future.
By making use of drug courts, not only are we limiting the amount of convicted offenders in prison but also hopefully helping people get on the right path for a successful and law-abiding life. Not everyone is eligible for drug courts and not everyone can successfully complete the program due to the strict requirements. However, it is certainly worth looking into in criminal cases involving first-time drug offenders.
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Determining whether you are eligible for a diversionary program or whether such a program would be a good choice for you is only one of the many ways a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney can help in your case. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you should not delay in discussing your case with David C. Barry, Attorney at Law as soon as possible. Call today to learn more about how we can help you.