Someone who has recently been arrested for a drug offense in Florida probably worries about the potential consequences of their alleged wrongdoing. A Florida drug conviction could lead to fines and probation or incarceration. Even if someone has never violated the law before, an arrest for a drug offense could result in dire implications for their future opportunities. Someone who has previously avoided criminal infractions may worry about how one mistake could turn up every time they apply for a job, seek continuing education opportunities or look for rental housing.
Defending against criminal charges can help someone avoid a record but isn’t always the best option, especially if the state has a relatively strong case. Some people might instead benefit from seeking adjudication in the Florida drug courts.
What are the Florida drug courts?
The Florida drug courts are a type of pretrial diversion available to certain people accused of non-violent drug-related crimes. Instead of treating someone as a criminal, the Florida drug courts treat them as someone in need of intervention and support. The drug courts involve supervision combined with treatment requirements. An individual must attend regular meetings, agree to randomize drug screenings and undergo rehabilitation for their substance abuse disorder. The entire process can take two years or longer to complete.
What are the benefits of drug court proceedings?
Unlike a traditional criminal case in which someone pleads innocent or guilty, drug court proceedings involve someone asking for special consideration because their addiction led to their criminal conduct. If someone successfully completes the drug court process, they won’t have to serve traditional criminal penalties. In fact, they won’t even have a conviction on their permanent record. For someone who has never run afoul of the law before, Florida drug court proceedings could be a way to maintain a blemish-free criminal record. Additionally, the requirement to undergo treatment could help someone struggling with a substance abuse disorder overcome their challenges and improve their circumstances.
Not everyone qualifies for adjudication in the drug courts, and not everyone who does qualify can successfully complete the process. Still, for those who may worry that a conviction could have a chilling effect on their career or affect their educational opportunities, the Florida drug courts could be a path toward recovery and a source of hope.