Getting arrested for drug possession will mean going to court, risking incarceration and paying costly fines. Even those who avoid incarceration will likely face probation and will have to deal with a criminal record for the rest of their lives.
Fighting back against the drug charge can be frightening because of the serious consequences if you lose. If you realize that you made a mistake and that a conviction will only hurt your future, you still have options.
Florida does offer pretrial diversion programs for certain criminal offenses. Those accused of a drug offense possibly qualify for one of these programs.
The drug courts keep some offenders out of the criminal courts
Going through the criminal courts doesn’t solve addiction and might actually do active harm to someone accused of a drug offense. A criminal trial and conviction might stop someone from overcoming their chemical dependence and becoming a contributing member of society.
Incarceration and the trauma that it causes can affect people very negatively, especially those already in a vulnerable place due to addiction. Addiction often has roots in trauma and requires support, rather than punishment, for people to address it successfully. The drug courts can offer the structure and accountability that people often need to take control of their lives while struggling with addiction.
Going through the drug courts instead of the criminal courts could be an excellent option for certain people facing addiction-related offenses in Florida. After the completion of treatment and documented compliance with very specific probation terms, including random chemical testing, it could be possible to leave both the drug offense and the addiction that led to it in the past.